From Sock to Cachin: Five to watch in men's qualifying

 - Dan Imhoff

The battle for 16 highly-coveted main draw spots at Roland Garros begins on Monday.

Jack Sock, Roland Garros 2020, Qualifying first round.© Nicolas Gouhier/FFT

Brazilian Thiago Monteiro leads the 128 men about to embark on qualifying for Roland-Garros from Monday.

There are 16 main draw places on the line as the likes of ex-top tenners Jack Sock and Fernando Verdasco and former top 20 players, Feliciano Lopez and Sam Querrey, join teenagers Luca Nardi, Flavio Cobolli and 2020 Roland-Garros junior champion Dominic Stricker in the draw.


Here are five standout names to watch out for as qualifying action begins.

Pedro Cachin (ARG)

In his first match back after almost a year on the sidelines, former world No.3 Dominic Thiem knew to keep expectations in check when he met 27-year-old Pedro Cachin in the first round of the Marbella Challenger in March.

The Austrian rightly would have brushed aside the straight-sets defeat as he set about building match play, but the belief it unlocked since in his opponent has been substantial.

From that victory on, Cachin enters Roland-Garros qualifying with a 16-3 mark, adding wins over Philipp Kohlschreiber and Pablo Andujar en route to the final in Marbella, before winning consecutive Challenger titles in Madrid and Prague.

Based in Barcelona, where he is trained by former world No.2 Alex Corretja, the world No.152 opens against India's Sumit Nagal.

Jack Sock (USA)

A former world No.8 in 2017, Jack Sock continued his steady climb back to the top 100 with his fourth career Challenger title in Savannah earlier this month.

It was the 29-year-old’s first title of any sort on clay since Houston in 2015, the same year he reached the fourth round at Roland-Garros in his best run of seven main draw appearances in Paris.

Sock has started working with fellow former top-15 American Robby Ginepri and a return to the top 100 is now well within sight.

“Now, things are a lot different for me,” Sock told following his Savannah title run.

“I have a wife, my family, Robby [Ginepri] and my team are around me.

“I'm able to calm down and soak in a lot of moments on court, compared to where I was even two years ago when I wasn't sure I would keep playing.”

Sock opens his qualifying campaign against Germany's Daniel Masur.

Jack Sock, Roland Garros 2020, qualifying second round© Loïc Wacziak/FFT

Daniel Elahi Galan (COL)

Two years ago, Daniel Elahi Galan made the most of a lucky loser call-up to the Roland Garros main draw, having fallen at the final hurdle in qualifying.

Galan denied Cameron Norrie in five sets before he breezed past two-time Grand Slam quarter-finalist Tennys Sandgren to reach the third round at a major on debut.

The now highest-ranked Colombian at No.105, had never shared a practice court with a top 10 player, but took valuable lessons in a baptism of fire defeat to top seed Novak Djokovic.

This season, the 25-year-old won a Challenger title on home soil in Concepcion before he added a second over former top-20 American Steve Johnson in Sarasota to stand just shy of a top 100 debut.

He made the semi-finals of a Challenger event in Germany this weekend and begins his Roland-Garros qualifying journey against Italian Franco Agamenone.

Daniel Elahi Galan, Roland Garros 2020, qualifying© Cédric Lecocq/FFT

Luca Nardi (ITA)

From an increasingly successful production line of Italian men’s tennis talent comes the latest name, 18-year-old Luca Nardi.

The Pesaro-born teenager became the youngest of 17 Italians in the top 200 early this month and made his tour-level debut last week as a wildcard in Rome before he fell to ninth seed Cameron Norrie.

This season, he won his first two Challenger titles in Forli and Lugano, which saw him join Sinner as the youngest Italian to win multiple titles at that level.

With ample strength in numbers among compatriots ranked above him, the depth is not lost on Nardi.

“In Italy, the other players push me to do my best,” Nardi told

“We have so many good players now, with [Jannik] Sinner, [Matteo] Berrettini, [Lorenzo] Musetti and [Lorenzo] Sonego.

“I hope I can be [like them] in the future. They always push me to do much better and work harder.”

Nardi makes his Roland-Garros qualifying debut against Slovakian Andrej Martin.

Luca Nardi, Roland Garros 2020, juniors third round© Philippe Montigny/FFT

Jurij Rodionov (AUT)

The mantle of top-ranked Austrian has been a one-man show since Thiem first made his move in 2014.

But since the nation’s standard-bearer has missed most of the past season, it has thrown the door wide open for his countrymen.

What better way to step up than with silverware on home soil?

Left-handed 22-year-old Jurij Rodionov did just that when he became the first Austrian to win a Challenger on home soil in 21 years with victory in Mauthausen earlier this month.

It was his second at that level for the season after success in Biel and took him to a career-best world No.130.

Having worked with Thiem’s father, Wolfgang Thiem, in the past, Rodionov owns wins over Denis Shapovalov in 2020 and Alex de Minaur last year.

He will open against Germany's Maximilian Marterer with hopes of reaching his second Roland-Garros main draw.

Jurij Rodionov, Roland Garros 2020, qualifying final round© Clément Mahoudeau/FFT