September 22, 2023

Open Court


Fichman into first career RG main draw

As is the case with every Grand Slam, the official entry lists are only a starting point, the beginning of a work in progress.

But here are the men’s and women’s entry lists for the French Open, which begins May 25 in Paris.


The men:

Del Potro is on the entry list, but he won't be in Paris this year.
Del Potro is on the entry list, but he won’t be in Paris this year.

The preliminary cutoff ranking stands at No. 102 for the 104 direct entry spots because of two players who have entered on a injury-protected ranking: Jurgen Zopp of Estonia (at No. 88) and Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay (at No. 54).

Who’s missing? Nobody – yet.

But Juan Martin del Potro is on the list, and it’s pretty obvious at this point he won’t play in Paris. So that should allow Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil to rest more easily.

Who else is question mark because of current injuries? Well, Tommy Haas. And perhaps Juan Monaco and maybe even Janko Tipsarevic, who remains barely in the top 100 after not having played all year. But there’s still a month to go.

It’s too early to speculate about the seedings. But with del Potro’s absence, Canadian Milos Raonic needs to jump up one more spot to grab a No. 8, which avoids the top seeds he might otherwise meet in the round of 16, if he gets there.

Vasek Pospisil, if they seeded now, would check in at No. 28. But he’s currently less than 100 ranking points from being out of seeded territory, so the next few weeks are key.

On the bubble: Bellucci (No. 103), Facundo Arguello (No. 104), David Goffin (No. 105), Tim Smyczek (No. 106).

Out of luck: Peter Gojowczyk (No. 114); Ryan Harrison (No. 117); Michael Berrer (No. 120 – notably defeated Milos Raonic in his first-ever French Open match); Horacio Zeballos (No. 39 a year ago, but No. 126 now and a defending semi-finalist in doubles with Cuevas) and Marcos Baghdatis (No. 130, but he has French connections and a terrific knack for getting wild cards – at least in the U.S.)


The women:

Will Azarenka make it to Paris this year? Only the RedFoo knows.
Will Azarenka make it to Paris this year? Only the RedFoo knows.

The women have 108 spots up for grabs (fewer slots for winners of qualifying than the men). And as of now, the last player straight in is Mandy Minella of Luxembourg, at No. 110.

Already out are Americans Jamie Hempton (No. 34), who has had hip surgery and Bethanie Mattek-Sands (No. 58) along with Galina Voskoboeva of Kazakhstan (No. 65), who also has had surgery.

In on injury protection ranking (you can only do this for one Grand Slam event) is Iveta Melzer (No. 67).

Who’s likely to be missing when the opening ball is struck?

Well, Victoria Azarenka has to be considered a question mark. There seems to be no timetable for her return after her aborted attempt at Indian Wells, which was painful to watch.

Laura Robson, who also has had a tough year because of a wrist injury, also may not answer the bell.

No one else immediately springs to mind but again, there is still a month left.

On the good news side, Alisa Kleybanova has gotten her ranking up into the top 100 and is straight in, after losing her first-round qualifying match in Australia to one of the Pliskova sisters (I’d have to look that one up).

As well, Canada’s Sharon Fichman is straight into her first French Open ever – in singles or doubles – a great reward for a lot of hard work.

In three attempts at the qualies in Australia, Fichman won just one round. In two attempts at Roland Garros again, just one match win. She has lost in the first round at Wimbledon all three times she has played qualifying.

Fichman’s only previous Grand Slam experience was in New York last summer when, after four unsuccessful tries, she finally qualified for the main draw and lost to Sorana Cirstea of Romania in the first round.

So this is a big step for her, on the Slam surface most think she is best suited for (even if her hard-court game has picked up in a MAJOR way the last 12 months).

On the bubble for the women: American Shelby Rogers (No. 111); Germany’s Anna-Lena Friedsam (No. 112); Japan’s Ayumi Morita (No. 113) and Colombia’s Mariana Duque-Mariño (No. 114).

Out of luck for the main draw: Timea Babos (No. 119); Heather Watson (No. 121); Anabel Medina Garrigues (No. 123); Alexandra Dulgheru (No. 132)

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