Kudla, Pavlasek reach main draw

 - Alex Sharp

Ilya Ivashka and Hubert Hurkacz complete a quartet of Roland-Garros qualifiers on Thursday in Paris.

An elated quartet of men booked their main-draw ticket at a sun-scorched Roland Garros on Thursday.

World No.185 Adam Pavlasek was the first to complete qualification with a 7-6(8) 6-4 triumph over Dennis Novak and the Czech is determined to make more memories on the red dirt in Paris.

“I feel amazing after the way I’ve played in all three matches of qualies. I’m just so happy to make the main draw again, that was tough,” reflected Pavlasek, having squandered three set points in the opening tie-break.

“I love it here so I’m just looking forward to the next match. I have unbelievable memories from 2016 when I was in the main draw second round. I will try to do the same, we’ll see.”

Denis Kudla declared his experience counted after chalking up a third French Open main-draw spot with a commanding 6-2 6-1 win against Jurgen Zopp.

“It feels great. These are huge moments for us, for players who aren’t direct-entry," the 25-year-old said.

“I’ve played enough last round qualies at Grand Slams with plenty of heartbreakers, saved match points, had easy ones. So I’ve been through a lot of it. I feel like experience is really starting to help me and in the last six months is really kicking in.

“Clay has never been my best surface, that’s no secret, but I’ve been playing really well in the lead-up without results really being there. I’m happy I really showed up for Roland Garros for the big show.

“I’ve had some short stays here, but this is the Slam where you have to work the hardest, you really deserve wins here. This surface exposes weaknesses, it’s mentally and physically so tough. It would be a special place for me to make a run here.”

Sergiy Stakhovsky reached the third round at Roland-Garros back in 2011, but was denied by spirited Belarusian Ilya Ivashka, who will make his main-draw debut following a 6-4 6-7(5) 6-2 victory.

Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz will also take his French Open bow having completed a 6-3 4-6 6-4 scoreline facing Argentina’s Marco Trungelliti.

Meanwhile, gregarious Ernests Gulbis kept his hopes alive in an enthralling 6-3 6-7(7) 6-1 passage past Italy’s Stefano Travaglia in the second qualifying round.

The 2014 Roland Garros semi-finalist looked destined for the third round with four match points at 6-2 in the second set tie-break. However, Travaglia teased the errors from the Latvian’s racket and a sumptuous drop shot carved out his own set point at 6-6, before hauling Gulbis into a decider.

A rocket forehand return onto the baseline chalked up a 2-0 break lead as Gulbis soared to victory and next faces world No.198 Alessandro Giannessi, who posted a 7-6(2) 6-2 win against Tobias Kamke.

Jozef Kovalik ended the charge of Next Gen hopeful Reilly Opelka with a hard fought 6-2 3-6 7-6(4) victory on a packed Court 6.

The American youngster won his first clay court title on Sunday, lifting a Challenger trophy in Bordeaux, but couldn’t match his recent form in a turbulent battle.

World No.147 Kovalik had a match point dismissed at 5-4 in the decider, before closing out the win with an accomplished tie-break to book a third round encounter with Canadian 14th seed Peter Polansky.

Home charge Corentin Denolly was halted 7-5 6-2 by world No.109 Guido Andreozzi. The ninth seed broke the 20-year-old Frenchman at 5-5 with some heavy returns to help clinch the opening set.

Andreozzi then struck a pivotal break to start the second set and accelerated towards a third round meeting with Egyptian Mohamed Safwat.

Brazil’s Rogerio Dutra Silva breezed past Andrej Martin 6-2 6-0. The sixth seed is yet to drop a set in qualifying and meets Czech youngster Zdenek Kolar for a main draw ticket.

The ground pass paradise on the new Court 18 was the venue for 20th seed Simeone Bolelli to edge past Japan’s Yasutaka Uchiyama 7-6(4) 6-3. His reward is a shootout with veteran Santiago Giraldo, who recovered from a set down to prevail past Uladzimir Ignatik 6-7(5) 6-2 6-2.