It’s exactly 396 kilometers from the French city of Strasbourg to Roland Garros and yet, the Internationaux de Strasbourg is the closest event to the upcoming French classic (alongside with the Nürnberger Versicherungscup that is on this week as well), giving players one last chance to prepare on the red clay.
While the event in Nürnberg is only being held for the third time, the Strasbourg tournament has a much longer tradition as the WTA has been a guest in the European metropolis since 1987, making it one of the most long-running tour events.
The event has seen some big-name players clinch the title in the past, with former champions being Maria Sharapova & Andrea Petkovic, and there is no shortage of name-brand players this year either.
The competitive main draw is spearheaded by Jelena Jankovic & Sam Stosur, both of which have asked for wildcards into the event. They are joined by Madison Keys, Julia Görges, Zarina Diyas & Madison Brengle, as well as Alize Cornet, Monica Puig & Francesca Schiavone, all of which are past Strasbourg champions!
Friday was all about the first qualifying round, the event got off to somewhat of a rocky start though, due to the weather. While May usually means sunshine & mild temperatures in this part of France, the day kicked off with plenty of rain, forcing the organizers to delay start of play several times.
Play finally got underway at 1:30 PM, but Strasbourg didn’t provide the most pleasant of playing conditions all day. Temperatures remained freezing cold as the rain finally let up.
Among the players in action today where young French hopefuls Margot Decker & Lou Brouleau. While Decker managed to win only two games against Olga Govortsova, Broleau won her first set against Risa Ozaki, only to completely fall apart in the third set.
French-Canadian Francoise Abanda joined the string of disappointing results for the French crowd, losing to Katarzyna Piter in straight sets. The local fans finally got something to celebrate at the very last match of the day as Constance Sibille managed to seal the first and only French win of the day, getting past Japan’s Hiroko Kuwata in straight sets.
Qualifying will continue on Saturday before main draw play at the Internationaux de Strasbourg gets underway on Sunday. Keep checking back to Women’s Tennis Blog all week for all the latest action from the French clay classic.