Czech teens impress in qualifying debuts

Linda Fruhvirtova and reigning RG junior champion Linda Noskova advance on Monday

Linda Fruhvirtova, Roland Garros 2022 qualifying first round© Julien Crosnier/FFT
 - Dan Imhoff

Hearing messages of validation can only do so much to reinforce self-belief, in Linda Fruhvirtova’s brief early experience of life on tour.

There was an element of confidence that only came with winning and for the highly-regarded 17-year-old those moments came in Miami this year.

Upsets of the likes of Elise Mertens and Victoria Azarenka en route to the fourth round there boosted her outlook that she was where she truly belonged.

The Czech confidently carried that conviction to Roland-Garros women’s qualifying on Monday, when she became the first player through to the second round, following a comprehensive 6-0, 6-4 victory over 25th seed Katarzyna Kawa.


“It was definitely a massive boost to see that I have the level and compete with these players and win the matches,” Fruhvirtova said.

“Many people are telling me I have the level and I can do it, you know; but you really believe it when you get to play these matches and win these matches.

“So I'm really grateful for the opportunity to play such a huge tournament and do so well. It's just the beginning. It's a great start and I can build on it.”

Linda Noskova, Roland Garros 2022 qualifying first round© Philippe Montigny/FFT

Soon after, Fruhvirtova’s fellow 17-year-old compatriot Linda Noskova followed suit with a 6-3, 7-5 victory over 11th seed Anna Blinkova.

“I've known her since very young age,” Fruhvirtova said. “First time we played together was under 12s. We played in the national team together – 12 and unders, 14 and unders – then we kind of went different ways a little bit, playing different tournaments.

“She lives in a different part of the country so we don't practise together, but it’s obviously nice to see both of us getting there.”


While Noskova has yet to make her tour-level debut, she instead drew confidence from previous success on these courts as last year’s girls’ singles champion.

“It means a lot. I was really excited to come back here, especially for the adults,” Noskova said. “It brings memories and that is one of my favourite, so it's really good.”

The two teenage prospects could not help but follow the improbable journey with each passing round as their unseeded countrywoman Barbora Krejcikova left all in her wake to collect a maiden major at Roland Garros last year.

“I played juniors here last year, so I saw some of her matches on the TV and yeah, it was pretty amazing seeing what she did,” Fruhvirtova said.

“I've always been very motivated and I love competing, so it doesn't really change with [Krejcikova’s triumph] but it's definitely great to see.”

Noskova was the first Czech to win the junior girls’ title since Hana Mandlikova in 1978 last year, while Krejcikova was the first Czech since Mandlikova three years later to win the women’s singles.

“When I had free time I was watching her run and it was very inspiring,” Noskova said of Krejcikova.

“There's a lot of Czech players here [in qualifying] this year. I know a lot of them.

“I'm really glad that we have such a chance to play here and hopefully get some good results.”

In other first-round women’s qualifying matches, former world No.19 Donna Vekic continued her climb back towards the top 100, following right knee surgery last year, with a 6-4, 6-4 win over American Robin Anderson.

Serbian former world No.39 Aleksandra Krunic rebounded for a 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-1 win over Romanian Gabriela Lee, while German second seed Jule Niemeier, and Chinese third and fourth seeds, Wang Xiyu and Zhu Lin, all advanced in straight sets.

Wang Xiyu, Roland Garros 2022, qualifying first round© Cédric Lecocq/FFT