Osorio Serrano to Liu: Five to watch in women's qualifying

An exciting mix of young talents and seasoned veterans will fight for main-draw spots in Paris this week

Maria Camila Osorio Serrano, Roland Garros qualifying 2020© Cédric Lecocq/FFT
 - Reem Abulleil

Women’s qualifying kicks off on Monday with 128 competitors taking to the clay courts of Roland-Garros to battle for 16 highly-coveted main draw spots.

Russian veteran Vera Zvonareva is the top seed and headlines a strong qualifying draw that also includes former Roland-Garros finalist Sara Errani and last year’s US Open quarter-finalist Tsvetana Pironkova.

Here are five standout names to look out for in qualifying action these upcoming days.

Maria Camila Osorio Serrano (COL)

The Colombian teenager has enjoyed an excellent clay-court swing in 2021, which has carried her into the top 100 for the first time in her young career this week.

Osorio Serrano, 19, triumphed on home soil to lift the Bogota trophy last month (as a 180th-ranked wildcard) before reaching the semi-finals of the WTA 250 event in Charleston.


Last week in Belgrade, she made it all the way to the semi-finals, as a qualifier, after rallying back from a 0-4 deficit in the third set of her opening round in the main draw.

Coached by Ricardo Sanchez – who previously worked with former world No.1s Jelena Jankovic and Caroline Wozniacki – Osorio Serrano will be seeking her Grand Slam main draw debut in Paris is this week.

The former junior world No.1 and 2019 US Open junior champion will kick-off her Roland-Garros qualifying journey against Serbia's Olga Danilovic.

Vera Zvonareva (RUS)

The 36-year-old veteran has had a strong build-up to Roland-Garros thanks to her march to the last 16 in Rome, as a qualifier, earlier this month.

At the Foro Italico, the former world No.2 upset Petra Kvitova in the second round to claim her first top-10 win on clay in over 11 years.


Zvonareva, a runner-up at Wimbledon and the US Open in 2010, is searching for a second Roland-Garros main draw appearance in three years.

In 2019, she competed on Parisian clay for the first time since 2011 and her recent exploits in the Italian capital have earned her a spot back in the top 100.

Zvonareva begins her qualifying campaign against 20-year-old Brit Francesca Jones.

Vera Zvonareva, Roland Garros 2020 women's qualifying© Nicolas Gouhier/FFT

Ana Konjuh (CRO)

Clay may not be Konjuh’s favourite surface but her run to the final on the red dirt in Belgrade this past week – as a qualifier – suggests the talented Croatian will be a force in qualifying these next few days in Paris.

The 23-year-old, who spent nearly three years out of action and underwent four elbow surgeries, made it to a first WTA final since January 2017 and is looking to recapture the form that saw her reach the US Open quarter-finals as a teenager back in 2016.

Konjuh had to retire during the Belgrade final on Saturday due to a right hip problem but is hopeful she will be ready for her opening qualifying round at Roland-Garros on Tuesday. She is targeting a first Grand Slam main-draw appearance since 2018.

“To be in the finals again, it’s been a while for me, and it means a lot after everything I’ve been through. And just to see that I can play at this level again, it’s great,” Konjuh said.

“I’m going to give my best [in Paris], those qualies are everything I’ve been working for these past few months, I really wanted to be in the Slams and now I’m back and I just hope I’m going to enjoy it.”

Konjuh faces American Robin Anderson in her first round of Roland-Garros qualifying.

Mayar Sherif (EGY)

The Cairo native made history at Roland-Garros last fall when she became the first Egyptian woman to feature in a Grand Slam main draw, thanks to a near-flawless qualifying run in Paris that saw her drop just 14 games through three matches.

In the main draw, Sherif stretched No.2 seed Karolina Pliskova to three sets – a heroic effort that caught the eye of her superstar countryman Mohamed Salah of Liverpool FC.

Sherif, who recently recovered from a bout of Covid-19, has successfully qualified for the main draw in her past two Grand Slams and will look to make it three in a row in the French capital this week.

At the Australian Open in February, the 25-year-old became the first Egyptian woman to win a main-draw match at a major when she dismissed Chloe Paquet in the first round before falling to Kaja Juvan in three tight sets.

Sherif is seeded 13th in Roland-Garros qualifying and opens against 19-year-old Pole Maja Chwalinska.

Claire Liu (USA)

The 20-year-old American arrives in Paris on the heels of claiming back-to-back titles on clay in the United States earlier this month.

Liu has won 12 of her past 13 matches on the surface – a stretch that saw her lift trophies at the $100k ITF tournament in Charleston and the $60k ITF event in Charlottesville.

She starts her Roland-Garros qualifying campaign at a career-high ranking of No.129 and is chasing a debut main-draw appearance in the French capital.

The California-born youngster was a highly-successful junior, who clinched the Wimbledon girls’ singles title in 2017, a few weeks after making the Roland-Garros junior final.

Liu is seeded 20th in the Roland-Garros qualifying draw and takes on Canada's Rebecca Marino in round one.