GIBBS, OPELKA ADVANCE
IN FRENCH OPEN QUALIES
Ashley Marshall | May 22, 2018
Nicole Gibbs took her first step toward the main draw of the 2018 French Open on Tuesday, with a first-round win on a rain-interrupted Day 2 of qualifying in Paris.
The 25-year-old was one of four U.S. players to advance to the second round, joining Reilly Opelka, Grace Min and Caroline Dolehide.
No. 8 seed Gibbs, the top-ranked American woman in the qualifying tournament, defeated Han Xinyun of China, 6-1, 6-4, to book her place in the second of three qualifying rounds. Gibbs, who fell in the final round of qualies last year after a pair of first-round exits in 2015 and 2016, will play Veronika Kudermetova of Russia on Wednesday.
Gibbs is joined in the second round of the qualification tournament by world No. 197 Min, who outlasted Jil Teichmann of Switzerland, 6-4, 3-6, 6-2, in a two-hour match on Court 12, and No. ADVERTISEMENT 17 seed Dolehide, who beat countrywoman Irina Falconi, 6-4, 6-3, in the only all-American match of the day.
Min is vying to make the main draw of a Grand Slam for the first time since 2015 and at Roland Garros for the first time since 2014, while Dolehide is now two wins away from making her major main-draw debut. Dolehide fell in the first round of qualies at the US Open in each of the past two years before winning her first Grand Slam match in the opening round of the Australian Open Qualifying Tournament in Melbourne in January.
On the men’s side, Opelka beat Tallon Griekspoor of the Netherlands, 7-5, 6-3, to set up a second-round match with another Dutchman, Jozef Kovalik.
Six-foot-11 Opelka, 20, made his Grand Slam singles debut at the Australian Open as a qualifier in 2017. He fell in the final round of qualifying in Paris last spring but enters the French capital with confidence following a pair of clay-court Challenger-level semifinal results and a championship on the red clay of Bordeaux, France, last week.
Opelka joins No. 7 seed Denis Kudla, who was the lone American winner on Day 1 of qualies Monday, as the only two American men to progress to the second round.
On Tuesday, Stefan Kozlov fell to Yasutaka Uchiyama of Japan, 6-4, 7-5; Kevin King lost to Andrej Martin of Slovakia, 6-2, 7-5; and Bradley Klahn fell to No. 28 seed Henri Laaksonen of Switzerland, 4-6, 7-6, 6-4, in a match that lasted two hours, 15 minutes on Court 16.
In the women’s draw, 18-year-old Kayla Day fell to Russian teen Anna Kalinskaya, 6-2, 6-0. Jamie Loeb was leading Conny Perrin of Switzerland, 6-2, 2-2, when rain halted play.
Americans Claire Liu and Francesca Di Lorenzo will have to wait until Wednesday to get their French Open campaigns underway. Their matches were among eight washed out by rain on Day 2. Liu will play ninth-seeded Danka Kovinic of Montenegro tomorrow, while Di Lorenzo will face Quirine Lemoine of the Netherlands.