Men's qualifying: Ones to watch

The men's qualifying draw has been released, with many exciting match-ups on the cards this week.

Marco Trungelliti in qualifying action at Roland Garros 2018 (© Cedric Lecocq / FFT)
 - Reem Abulleil

Qualifying action kicks off in Paris on Monday with players set to battle for 16 coveted spots in the Roland-Garros main draw.

Top-seeded American Tennys Sandgren leads a total of 128 men in the qualifying draw that includes a varied mix of veterans, up-and-comers and players looking to make their way back from injuries and setbacks.

Here are five players to look out for this week in the French capital.

Tommy Robredo

The 37-year-old Spaniard is the second-oldest player in the qualifying draw, behind Paolo Lorenzi, and is trying to feature in the main draw of just his third Grand Slam in three years.

> ORDER OF PLAY: Monday 20 May

Hampered by injuries in the latter part of his career, Robredo, a five-time Roland-Garros quarter-finalist, last contested the main draw in Paris in 2017, where he lost in the second round. He qualified for the US Open last year in New York and continues his quest to reclaim his place in the top 100.

The former world No.5 faces German teenager Rudolf Molleker in the first round of Roland-Garros qualifying.

Rudolf Molleker

The 18-year-old Ukraine-born German is enjoying a career-high ranking of 152 and made waves last year when he upset former Roland-Garros finalist David Ferrer at the ATP event in Hamburg. He also was the youngest titlist on the Challenger Tour last season when he picked up the trophy on home soil in Heilbronn and is one of the Next Gen players to watch this year.

One of Patrick Mouratoglou’s protégées, Molleker spent time during the offseason training with Greek young star Stefanos Tsitsipas at the French coach’s academy in the south of France. Prior to his title run in Heilbronn last year, he spent a couple of weeks working with Boris Becker through a programme organised by the German Tennis Federation.

On his first attempt at a major, Molleker qualified for the Australian Open last January, and will be hoping to do the same this week in Paris.

Alejandro Davidovich Fokina

The 19-year-old Spaniard has climbed more than 100 spots up the rankings since the start of 2019 and comes to Roland-Garros in blazing hot form, after making the Estoril Open semi-finals, as a qualifier, earlier this month.

It was just his third-ever ATP event, and he knocked out the likes of Gael Monfils, Jeremy Chardy and Taylor Fritz en route to his maiden last-four appearance on tour. A Roland-Garros junior semi-finalist and Wimbledon junior champion in 2017, Davidovich Fokina is likely to feature in the year-end Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan as one of the best 21-and-under players on the circuit.

With an entertaining game that features slick drop shots and daring dive volleys, the Malaga native will surely have many eyes on him in Paris as he attempts to qualify for his maiden Grand Slam main draw.

He is seeded 17th in the qualifying draw and opens his campaign against Great Britain’s Jay Clarke.

Marco Trungelliti

The affable Argentinean made headlines last year when he drove for 10 hours from Barcelona to Paris, with his grandmother, girlfriend and brother in the car, racing to get to Roland-Garros in time for his first-round match when a last-minute lucky loser spot opened up.

Trungelliti’s journey from Spain to France was documented on social media by his girlfriend and caught the attention of scores of fans around the world. He arrived in time for his match and actually won his opener against Bernard Tomic before losing in the second round.

He’ll no doubt have some followers behind him this week in Paris, where he begins his qualifying campaign against French wildcard Hugo Gaston.