Paris, France, 26 May 2021 | Leigh Rogers

Storm Sanders has achieved many new milestones on the singles court so far this season. From a career-high ranking of No.161 to a breakthrough top-30 win and WTA-level quarterfinal appearance, the 26-year-old Australian can now add a first win at Roland Garros to her growing list of achievements.

Sanders’ brimming confidence showed in a first-round victory against No.24 seed Katarzyna Kawa in Paris, defeating the world No.136 from Poland in straight sets.

Needing only 65 minutes, Sanders recorded a 6-3 6-1 win to keep her dream of qualifying at Roland Garros alive.

Sanders, who is making only her second singles appearance at Roland Garros and a first since she contested qualifying as a 19-year-old in 2014, faces Turkey’s Cagla Buyukakcay in the next round.

Sanders’ victory was a highlight in what was otherwise a challenging day for our Aussie hopes in qualifying.

Olivia Gadecki showed promise in her Roland Garros debut, with the 19-year-old from Queensland taking the opening set against world No.172 Anastasia Gasanova. The Russian fought back, however, to win in three sets.

Fellow Queenslanders Lizette Cabrera and Priscilla Hon both lost their opening-round matches in straight sets.

In men’s qualifying singles action, Thanasi Kokkinakis and Matt Ebden’s campaigns both ended in the opening round.

Ninth-seeded American Mackenzie McDonald scored a 6-4 6-4 victory against Kokkinakis, snapping the momentum the 25-year-old South Australian had built last week in winning his first title in three years.

McDonald hit 30 winners to Kokkinakis’ 19 in the 85-minute match, showing the form that has helped him reach as high as No.57 in the world rankings and twice advance to the fourth round at a Grand Slam tournament.

Ebden lost a tough battle against Chile’s Alejandro Tabilo. Despite hitting more winners and displaying incredible touch at the net, the 33-year-old Australian could not close out victory.

Second-round qualifying matches begin in Paris tonight, with Australians Marc Polmans and Ellen Perez both opening the schedule from 6.30pm AEST.

Aussies in action – Roland Garros

Women’s singles qualifying, first round
Storm Sanders (AUS)
d [24] Katarzyna Kawa (POL) 6-3 6-1
[32] Wang Xiyu (CHN) d Lizette Cabrera (AUS) 6-2 6-1
Francesca Di Lorenzo (USA) d Priscilla Hon (AUS) 7-5 6-3 
Anastasia Gasanova (RUS) d [WC] Olivia Gadecki (AUS) 4-6 6-0 6-1

Men’s singles qualifying, first round
[9] Mackenzie McDonald (USA) d Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) 6-4 6-4
Alejandro Tabilo (CHI) d Matthew Ebden (AUS) 4-6 6-3 6-4

Women’s singles qualifying, second round
Storm Sanders (AUS) v Cagla Buyukakcay (TUR)
Ellen Perez (AUS) v Alexandra Dulgheru (ROU)

> VIEW: Roland Garros women’s singles qualifying draw

Men’s singles qualifying, second round
[31] Marc Polmans (AUS) v [WC] Arthur Fils (FRA)
Aleksandar Vukic (AUS) v Viktor Troicki (SRB)

> VIEW: Roland Garros men’s singles qualifying draw