Aleks Vukic has snapped his prolonged form slump and resumed his top-100 bid as one of six Australians who advanced to the second round of French Open qualifying.
The world No.123, who missed out on the country’s reciprocal main draw singles wildcard to training partner Chris O’Connell, eliminated Spaniard Mario Vilella Martinez 7-5 6-4 in his qualifying opener.
Vukic won only one set in his three Challenger-level matches on clay in the lead-up to Roland Garros and had lost six straight contests overall.
He will be one victory away from making the French Open for a second time if he can defeat 218th-ranked Austrian Sebastian Ofner, after successfully qualifying two years ago.
Vukic, who won a round at the Australian Open in January, also reached final-round qualifying in Paris last year.
Jason Kubler, a renowned clay-court player, was the only other Australian man to make it through, while Priscilla Hon, Seone Mendez, Jaimee Fourlis and Arina Rodionova progressed on the women’s side.
Kubler dug deep to oust Italy’s Riccardo Bonadio 6-4 3-6 6-3 to continue his latest resurgence after being ranked as low as No.305 in mid-July.
Brisbane’s world No.161 next faces Moldovan sixth seed Radu Albot in what promises to be a gruelling affair.
But Max Purcell suffered a heart-breaking 6-7(5-7) 6-4 7-6(10-8) defeat to Portugal’s Pedro Sousa, who has been as high as No.99 in the ATP rankings.
The in-form Fourlis, who has slashed her ranking by more than 100 places this year to 235, eased past Italian Federica Di Sarra 7-6(9-7) 6-3, while Rodionova lost only six games in overcoming American Emina Bektas.
Fourlis made the Australian Open mixed doubles final this year with Kubler.
Hon also won in straight sets, dispatching the United States’ Francesca Di Lorenzo 6-4 6-4, but Mendez needed to rally from a set down to win her first match at the French Open over Georgia’s Mariam Bolkvadze.
But Storm Sanders won’t qualify for the clay-court grand slam in consecutive years thanks to a 6-4 6-4 defeat to Chinese third seed Zhu Lin.
Olivia Gadecki, who missed the Australian Open after choosing not to be vaccinated against Covid-19, went down 5-7 6-3 7-5 to American No.17 seed Hailey Baptiste, and 18th seed Maddison Inglis lost to Dutchwoman Suzan Lamens.
Two more Australians, Lizette Cabrera and Ellen Perez, are due to play their first-round matches on Tuesday night.