Wimbledon: Ladies’ qualifying final round recap

All the matches had eventually ended on the courts of Bank of England Sports Ground at Roehampton, and the twelve players who will earn a place into the main draw in Wimbledon Championships had been finally sorted out. Third seed Zhang Kai-lin’s defeat marked the only big upset of the day; Ekaterina Alexandrova, Amra Sadikovic, and Julia Boserup will make their debut in a major’s main draw.

All the qualifiers had been placed into the draw.

Cepelova storms past Zhang, the remaining top seeds all advance

The major upset of the day starred China’s Zhang Kai-lin, who played the qualifying matches as the third seed. Zhang had defeated doubles specialist Lucie Hradecka in straight sets in the first round and needed a three-set battle to advance past another Czech, Tereza Smitkova, in the second round. She was looking for her first appearance in a major’s main draw, but she fell with a clear 6-0, 6-1 to Jana Cepelova, who had upset third seed Simona Halep in the first round last year.

The Slovakian dominated the first set, lasted only 17 minutes, conceding only six points to the Chinese, and immediately converting all three break points she got. The second set saw a little more battle; after an easy hold, Cepelova immediately broke her opponent in the second game and saved three break points to consolidate the lead. She broke Zhang’s serve another time, and even if the Chinese held to love her last service game, she could nothing against her opponent who successfully served out the match right away. 

Cepelova had played every Wimbledon’s main draw since 2012, and her current best result is the third round.

All easy for top-seed Tatjana Maria, who never dropped a set on her road to the main draw; she conceded seventeen games over three matches. On the final round, she defeated another player who was looking for a major main draw debut, Rebecca Peterson. The Swedish played Wimbledon qualifying for the first time, and set her record in a Slam; previously, she had only reached the second round once, at 2015 US Open.

Today, Maria only needed to win one break and save two break points to book the first set; in the second, she earned an early lead but lost it right away. A decisive break in the second-to-last game gave the German the chance to serve out the match, which she converted right away. The last time Maria needed to play qualifications to enter a major’s main draw had been at 2015 Australian Open, while the last time she lost in the qualifying draw had been at 2014 U.S. Open.

Fourth seed Aleksandra Krunic and fifth seed Maria Sakkari also booked their spots in the main draw.

Krunic needed to defend her run from last year, when she got a first round win against Roberta Vinci (who didn’t win a match on grass since 2013 Wimbledon), and defeated another Italian and another, Sara Errani, in the second round. She only surrendered in the third round, where she met five-times Wimbledon champion Venus Williams. To advance to the main draw she defeated 6-2, 6-4 Yingying Duan, who had upset Eugenie Bouchard as a qualifier last year. Krunic never gave up her serve to get rid of the Chinese, who lost three service games and never managed to convert her chances to level-off the match. 

Despite her loss, due to Victoria Azarenka's withdrawal from the tournament, Duan advanced to the main draw as a lucky loser. 

Maria Sakkari improved her debut on grass courts by qualifying for a major for the third time in career. The Greek needed to save a match point to finally defeat Maryna Zanevska the match after three hours of play. The first two sets saw big inconsistency on serve from both players, and both ended up in a tie-break. Zanevska saved three set points while 3-5 down in the first set, but managed to hold and win the break back to force the set into a tie-break. Up 6-3, the Slovakian eventually closed it with a 7-5 scoreline.

Up 5-3 in the second, Sakkari failed to convert a set-point, and once again let her opponent to level-off the match, going down a match point while her opponent was serving for the match; the Greek saved it, and broke the Slovakian’s serve to force to another tie-break, which she won 7-3. All went easier for Sakkari in the decider; she broke her opponent twice but found more consistency on her serve as she conceded no more break points; she eventually closed the set with a 6-2 scoreline.

This had been Sakkari’s most battled match in this qualifying competition; she made her debut with a double 6-0 win against Polina Leykina.

2015 Wimbledon Championships. Aleksandra Krunic in action during her second round match against Sara Errani on July 1, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Boserup, Sadikovic and Aleksandrova to make a major’s debut

Three players earned their chance to play in a Grand Slam’s main draw for the first time in career. 

Julia Boserup had failed her previous eleven tries to qualify for a major but finally earned a place into her first main draw, defeating teen Barbara Haas 6-0, 6-4. Haas had previously defeated sixth seed Lauren Davis, and she was also looking for her main draw debut. 

Boserup defeated two fellow Americans, Jennifer Brady, and Jessica Pegula, to reach the final round. She quickly served out the first set, in only 20 minutes, and only one break in the second had been enough to grant her the victory. The American showed better consistency on serve, as she never conceded a single break point.

Wild card Harriet Dart and Ekaterina Alexandrova were also two players in search of a main draw debut; it had been the Russian who gained the upper hand, trailing the match to a double-digit third set for the second time in a row. In her second round match, she defeated Stephanie Vogt with a final 14-12 score in the third set. This time, she set up a similar scenario. It had been Dart who stroke first, gaining the first set with a 6-2 scoreline; the Russian leveled off with a 7-5 victory in the second. The third set showed the Russian gaining an early lead but got broken back as she was serving for the set, 5-4 up. No more breaks happened until the 21st game when the Russian got the break once again and gained a match point in the following game. One more time, however, she failed to serve out the match, losing the break right away. The British failed to hold her following game, and eventually, Alexandrova succeeded in serving out the match, closing the set with a final 13-11 scoreline.

The last to make her main draw debut had been Amra Sadikovic, who defeated Chang Kai-lin with a clear 6-2, 6-2. Sadikovic had previously defeated fellow Swiss Viktorija Golubic in the second round. She never gave up her serve to win today’s match in 1 hour and 4 minutes.

2015 Australian Open. Julia Boserup in action during her match against Anastasija Sevastova during the third round of 2016 Australian Open Qualifying on January 16, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. She didn’t make it into the main draw. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

Paszek, Minella and Erakovic among the remaining qualifiers

Three more seeded players gained their spot into the main draw.

Tamira Paszek, who had made the quarterfinals in Wimbledon in 2011 and 2012, survived an almost four-hour match against Andrea Hlavackova, characterized by injury-related problems from both players, and which ended with the Czech’s retirement at the end of the third set, too in pain to be able to keep playing.

The Austrian booked the first set 6-3, but the Czech immediately rallied back to take the second 7-5. Down 1-4 in the third, Paszek took one break back, and after wasting seven more break points in the eighth game, she eventually leveled off to 5-all as her opponent was serving for the match. 

Got broken once again, the Austrian took the break back right away in the sixteenth game, but at this point, both players were already struggling with their physical condition. Paszek injured her ankle in the second set, Hlavackova was dealing with painful cramps, who eventually forced her to give up, retiring while 9-10 down.

Mandy Minella came back from a set down to Barbora Stefkova to reach her first main draw in Wimbledon since 2013. Luxembourg's number one (and number 128 in the world) lost the first set 6-4 after wasting an early 3-0 lead. The following sets were all in her control, as she no more gave up her serve to win them 6-4, 6-2, despite her opponent’s effort of saving four set points before giving up.

Marina Erakovic defeated Irina Khromacheva 7-6(5), 6-3, struggling only in the first set, where she lost an early 3-0 lead to eventually win it in the tie-break.  The Russian tried to level-off one more time in the second set, but she lost her final two service games to lose the match on the second match point.

Luksika Kumkhum and Paula Kania are the last two qualifiers. Kumkhum defeated U.S.’s Vania King 7-6(4), 6-4, getting an easy win in the second set after a battled first one. The Polish found less struggle against China’s Zhu Lin, whom she defeated 6-0, 6-3.

Tamira Paszek in action during her quarterfinal match against Victoria Azarenka on day eight of the Wimbledon Championships on July 3, 2012 in London, England. This had been the last time she reached the quarterfinals in the tournament. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

The qualifiers into the main draw

All the qualifiers and the lucky loser had already been placed into the main draw.

Arma Sadikovic drew the shortest straw as she will meet world number one and defending champion Serena Williams right in the first round. 

Julia Boserup and Tatjana Maria will meet each other right in the first round. Luksika Kumkhum and Aleksandra Krunic could potentially meet in the second round if they’ll manage to defeat thirteenth seed Timea Bacsinszky and Monica Niculescu respectively.

Ekaterina Alexandrova will have to play another seed, 23rd seed and French Open champion Ana Ivanovic. Tamira Paszek will face doubles Grand Slam champion Elena Vesnina while Mandy Minella will meet Anna Tatishvili. Maria Sakkari will play Zheng Saisai, and Marina Erakovic will take on Irina Falconi. Another American will happen to Paula Kania, who will face Samantha Crawford for a place in the second round. If Jana Cepelova will defeat Mariana Duque-Mariño in the first round, she could potentially meet second seed Garbiñe Muguruza right away.

Lucky loser Yingying Duan will face Krystina Pliskova in the first round.