Going into the French Open qualifying tournament there were 12 Australians, seven men and five women, after three days of action at Roland Garros, just two remain.
Bernard Tomic is one match away from earning a main draw spot, while Lizette Cabrera was the only female player from Australia to advance beyond round one.
Thanasi Kokkinakis and Akira Santillan fell in round two. Kokkinakis lost 6-7(7), 6-1, 6-2 to Estonia’s Jurgen Zopp, while Akira Santillan lost 6-1, 3-6, 6-0 to French wildcard Alexandre Muller.
Cabrera held off Japanese veteran Junri Namigata to move into round two with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 victory. The players are at either end of their careers with Cabrera 20-years-old and Namigata soon to be 36. Namigata has only ever played two main draw grand slam matches, losing in the first round of the 2011 Australian and French Opens. Cabrera has also only played two losing main draw matches, going down in the first round at the 2017 and 2018 Australian Open.
Tomic went into the qualifying with some matches on clay under his belt after reaching the final of the Aix En Provence ATP Challenger event where he was beaten easily by Australia’s second-highest ranked player, John Millman.
Next up for Tomic is a match against Portugal’s Goncalo Oliveira, the world no.221. The 23-year-old Oliveira has a career-high ranking of 194 and has mostly battled it out on the Challenger tour in 2018. His best result in 2018 was reaching the quarterfinals of the Open Citta Della Disfida ATP Challenger event played on clay.
Oliveira defeated Australia’s Jason Kubler in the 1st round of qualifying then defeated Germany’s Jan Choinski to setup his match with Tomic. This has been the most successful grand slam qualifying event for Oliveira after having lost in the first round at the 2017 US Open and in the first round of the 2018 Australian Open.
Cabrera faces Romanian Alexandra Dulgheru, ranked no.160 in the second round. The 28-year-old Dulgheru reached a career high of no. 26 on 11 April 2011 and reached the third round of the French Open, Wimbledon and US Open in 2010.
Dulgheru has good form on the ITF tour over recent months and will be a tough opponent for Cabrera. In her French Open 1st round qualifying match, Dulgheru defeated Japan’s Nao Hibino 6-3, 4-6, 6-3. Hibino was the no. 12 seed in qualifying and is the world ranked no. 119. Hibino had recently competed on clay in the ACT Clay Court International in Canberra.