Former junior champs Stricker, Cobolli cruise

 - Dan Imhoff

Swiss teen joins Italian as first-round qualifying winners, while second and third seeds bow out

Dominic Stricker, Roland Garros 2022 qualifying first round© Cédric Lecocq/FFT

Dominic Stricker has picked up where he let off on the red clay of Roland-Garros two years ago, claiming a 12th victory from his last 12 matches at the tournament on his men's qualifying debut.

The Swiss made it a clean sweep in Paris in 2020 when he clinched the junior singles and doubles silver salvers and dropped just four games on his return to the site of his breakthrough on Monday.

Brazilian Joao Menezes was no match for the left-handed 19-year-old as the 6-4, 6-0 result set a second-round showdown with Argentine 28th seed Juan Ignacio Londero.

“I was feeling good from the start actually. It's great to come back here after the juniors,” Stricker said.

“I was feeling good after the practice sessions I had here and then the match started pretty well. In the second set I was feeling amazing and just kept going.”


Stricker did not compete in Paris last year but impressed in the lead-up when he brought down former world No.3 Marin Cilic in the first round in Geneva before adding Marton Fucsovics to his victims for a maiden tour-level quarter-final.

Following a second-round qualifying exit at Melbourne Park this year, the Swiss headed to the US, a trip that proved particularly fruitful as he bagged his second career Challenger title in Cleveland and with it a top-200 debut.

“It really does feel like a step in the right direction,” Stricker said.

“Every title means a lot. The one in Cleveland was even better. I had some pretty tough months last year, so it was good to start the year like this.”

Flavio Cobolli, Roland Garros 2022 qualifying first round© Nicolas Gouhier/FFT

Earlier, Stricker’s Roland-Garros winning doubles partner from 2020, Flavio Cobolli, advanced to the second round in his Grand Slam qualifying debut.


The Italian took out Frenchman Sascha Gueymard Wayenburg 6-3, 6-4 to set a meeting with Bulgarian Dimitar Kuzmanov.

“Dominic and I have a good relationship, he's a good friend. The first year here [2019] we lost the [boys’ doubles] final and the second year we won," said Cobolli.

“Now we both want to play the real Roland-Garros. We hope to play together there in the next year or so.”

The 20-year-old claimed his first Challenger title in Croatia in March and scored a win over former world No.12 Borna Coric in a Rome Challenger, in the Croat’s comeback from injury.

A Masters 1000 debut beckoned in Rome nine days later but Cobolli admitted he struggled with the moment in a straight-sets loss to Jenson Brooksby.

“It was a great experience but I had cramps with all the body, so it was tough for me to play there in my city, in my country with the people in Italy,” he said.

“I was with too much pressure in myself but I'm really happy to get there for playing my game and now I'm thinking to Roland-Garros.”

The same age as his countryman Lorenzo Musetti and less than a year Jannik Sinner’s junior, Cobolli was using his peers’ success to fuel his own push towards the top 100.

“I think Musetti, Jannik, Carlos [Alcaraz] and Holger Rune are a lot of motivation for the other guys,” he said. “I try to take something from the other guys and now I'm working to beat them.”

Cobolli’s fellow Italian Franco Agamenone surprised Colombian second seed Daniel Elahi Galan, 7-5, 3-6, 6-3, while Hungarian Zsombor Piros sent former world No.11 Sam Querrey packing, 6-2, 6-2.

Thiago Agustin Tirante became one of four Argentine men to advance on Monday, at the expense of home hope Pierre-Hugues Herbert.

The 21-year-old joined compatriots Facundo Mena, Londero and Santiago Fa Rodriguez Taverna in the second round, while three Portuguese players, Nuno Borges, Pedro Sousa and Gastao Elias also progressed.