NEW YORK, NY, USA - The 2018 US Open Qualifying tournament concluded on Friday with a plethora of feel-good stories to take fans through the first week of the season's final major tournament.
Catch up with some of the most notable results from around the grounds.
Vintage Vera returns to New York: Eight years after World No.2 Vera Zvonareva finished runner-up at the US Open to Kim Clijsters, the 2008 Olympic Bronze medalist qualified for her first main draw appearance in Flushing Meadows since 2011.
I spoke with the Russian from the US Open back in 2016, shortly after she married and gave birth to daughter, Evelyn. At the time, tennis seemed like the furthest thing from her mind, even as she aimed to get back into the gym and planned to run a marathon.
A year later, she returned to the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center to kick off her her "comeback," winning a round before falling in the second round of qualifying and picking up an ill-timed injury before the season was over.
"I think I’m improving. Even though I started playing last year, I fractured my rib at the end of last year, so I had to stop for three months again. It was on and off over the course of the past year, I was not training a lot, so it was very difficult."
The two-time Grand Slam finalist soon got healthy and kicked things into high gear this summer, qualifying for Wimbledon and making an auspicious coaching hire in Arnuad Decugis. A former ATP player, Decugis is the husband and former coach of Julie Halard-Decugis, a World No.7 in singles and 2000 US Open champion in doubles with Ai Sugiyama.
"For the last two months, I really put an effort on being fit again, and training as much as I can. Physically I was able to do it, which was very good, because before I had too many injuries, and I couldn’t put too many hours into training. I think that helps a lot. Right now, I think I have improved compared to the last year -- hopefully it will help me on the court."
That improved physicality was on display Friday, rallying from 2-5 down in the final set against Zhu Lin and saving five match points to triumph, 6-2, 4-6, 7-5, in two hours and 46 minutes.
Awaiting her in the main draw is countrywoman Anna Blinkova, a teenager born two years before Zvonareva turned pro in 2000. Still, things seem to be getting easier for the veteran, who took her daughter on tour through the summer swing.
"My daughter is getting older, day by day. I think it’s a little bit easier, and then of course I can take her on the road with me. She was with me at Wimbledon, and then Bucharest, so it was very nice. I’m planning to bring her on the road a little bit more in the future."
Bouzkova makes full circle moment: While Zvonareva is set to make her 41st Grand Slam main draw appearance on Tuesday, 20-year-old Marie Bouzkova falls on the other end of the spectrum as one of six qualifiers making their main draw debut at any major event.
That's not to say the Czech youngster lacks pedigree. Bouzkova is a proud member of the Junior Grand Slam Class of 2014, one that includes 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko and Daria Kasatkina.
"I was successful here as a junior," she said after up-ending teen phenom Marta Kostyuk on Thursday. "I won the junior event, so qualifying here for my first grand slam would be amazing."
Taking on Georgina Garcia Perez on Court 10, Bouzkova suffered severe leg cramps in the second and third sets - dropping the former in a tie-break - but nonetheless steadied to close out the Spaniard, 6-2, 6-7(4), 6-2.
Scheduled to face Romania's Ana Bogdan on Monday, she'll have to hit the ground running if she hopes to win her first-ever Grand Slam match and begin matching the heights set by Ostapenko and Kasatkina.
"I think staying consistent will be key, trying to enjoy each match one by one, and I think the results will start to come.
"I just have great memories from juniors. I’m familiarized with the area. Everything just works out here for me, it seems."
Around the grounds...
Anhelina Kalinina, whom Bouzkova beat in the 2014 US Open girl's singles final, will join the Czech in the main draw after knocking out Aussie Jaimee Fourlis, 3-6, 6-2, 6-1. She'll take on fellow Grand Slam main draw debutante Kathinka von Deichmann, who secured her main draw berth with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Martina Trevisan.
Russia's Anna Kalinskaya made her second Grand Slam main draw with a big win over Madison Brengle, seeded No.3 in qualies. Debuting at the Australian Open earlier this year, Kalinskaya will face Wimbledon semifinalist Julia Goerges after beating Brengle, 6-3, 7-5.
Patty Schnyder booked one of the most intriguing first round match-ups when she outlasted American Jessica Pegula, 6-3, 6-2. Making it into her first Grand Slam main draw since the 2011 French Open, Schnyder will play former World No.1 Maria Sharapova for a spot in the second round.
Per WTA Stats and Information: At 39 years, 269 days old (based on the end of the tournament), Schnyder is the oldest player to reach the main draw at a Slam via qualifying.