The complete set of Roland Garros qualifiers were settled on Friday, with eight more women punching their tickets into the main draw of the year's second Grand Slam event, joining Thursday's eight successful qualifiers.
Heading up the pack on the final day of qualifying is former Top 20 player Ana Konjuh, whose comeback from elbow injuries and multiple surgeries continues unabated. The Croat defeated Rebecca Sramkova of Slovakia, 7-6(1), 6-4, to reach a Grand Slam main draw for the first time since 2018 Wimbledon.
Konjuh nearly attained that goal earlier this year: she reached the final round of qualifying for the 2021 Australian Open before falling to Sara Errani.
Since that close call, Konjuh's season only improved, reaching the fourth round in Miami, the Istanbul quarterfinals, and, at last, her first WTA singles final since 2017 in Belgrade. The rise continued in Paris this week, with three straight-set wins.
Against Sramkova, who was seeking her first Grand Slam man draw appearance since the 2017 Australian Open, Konjuh failed to close out the match at 5-2 but held her nerve in the final game, drawing errors to advance. Konjuh finished the clash with 24 winners to Sramkova's 14.
Another player rising up the rankings this season is Storm Sanders, who will play her first Grand Slam main draw outside of her home country of Australia after a 7-5, 7-5 victory over Switzerland's Susan Bandecchi.
Propelled by a run to her first-ever WTA singles quarterfinal in Adelaide earlier this year, 26-year-old Sanders finds herself currently at a career-high ranking of World No.161.
After three straight-set wins, Sanders is now rewarded with her first Grand Slam main-draw showing since four consecutive first-round losses at the Australian Open between 2014 and 2017.
It was a tough battle for Sanders against Bandecchi, who had defeated Tsvetana Pironkova in the previous round. Bandecchi broke Sanders in the first game of each set before the Aussie charged back each time to collect the win in an hour and 48 minutes.
Among the other winners, Ukraine's Katarina Zavatska dispatched Anastasia Gasanova of Russia, 6-2, 6-1, preventing Gasanova from making her Grand Slam main-draw debut.
Serving for the first set at 5-2, No.21 seed Zavatska had a rare blip as she saw three set points vanish and had to stare down a break point. But Zavatska held firm to reach another set point, where a Gasanova return went wide, and the Ukrainian cruised home from there in an hour and nine minutes.
Lara Arruabarrena also notched a breezy victory to qualify, as the Spaniard defeated Carol Zhao of Canada, 6-4, 6-2 in an hour and 25 minutes. Arruabarrena, who has two WTA singles titles to her credit, will contest the Roland Garros main draw for the sixth time.
No.22 seed Stefanie Voegele, another Roland Garros main-draw veteran, also qualified with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 win over Kurumi Nara. This will be Voegele's seventh time in the main draw in Paris.
#RG21 Qualifiers:— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) May 28, 2021
M.C. Osorio Serrano
Katarina Zavatska pic.twitter.com/Qk8VM6EtXM
American teenager Hailey Baptiste will contest her first Grand Slam main draw outside of her home country, as she charged back from a dire deficit to overcome Austria's Julia Grabher 3-6, 7-5, 6-3.
Grabher led 4-1 in the second set before the 19-year-old from Washington, D.C. stormed back to clinch the win, putting Baptiste into her second Grand Slam main draw after her debut at last year's US Open.
20-year-old Wang Xiyu of China will also play the second Grand Slam main draw of her career after a 6-3, 6-7(8), 6-3 victory over No.9 seed Elisabetta Cocciaretto of Italy.
32nd-seeded Wang was the aggressor on the day, slamming 49 winners and 53 unforced errors with her left-handed shots. Wang served for the match at 5-3 in the second set before Cocciaretto fought back to claim the tough tiebreak, but Wang pulled her play under control in the decider to move on.
No.14 seed Irina Bara of Romania is also in the main draw after a 7-5, 6-2 win over Magdalena Frech of Poland. Bara made her Grand Slam main-draw debut at last year's Roland Garros, where she then upset Donna Vekic and Alison van Uytvanck en route to a surprising third-round showing.
It's now two trips to the Parisian main draw in a row for Bara, who needed over two hours to slide past the Polish player and have a shot at more match-wins at Roland Garros.