23 May 2024 | Tennis West

WA’s Astra Sharma has moved one step closer to earning a coveted main-draw spot at Roland Garros 2024.

The 28-year-old Sharma progressed to the final round in the women’s qualifying singles competition with an impressive 6-3 6-4 win today against Hungarian Timea Babos in Paris.

World No.130 Sharma struck 21 winners, including seven aces, and converted all three break points she earned against the former world No.25 and two-time Roland Garros doubles champion.

This sets up a final-round showdown with Serbian Olga Danilovic, who defeated Australian contender Kimberly Birrell 6-3 6-3 in the second round.

Sharma now has the chance to join exclusive company, with only five Australian women completing successful qualifying campaigns at Roland Garros in the past 30 years.

Sharma is aiming to qualify at a major tournament for the fourth time and complete her Grand Slam qualifying set. The Perth athlete has previously qualified at Australian Open 2019, US Open 2021 and Wimbledon 2022.

Unfortunately Taylah Preston was unable to capitalise on a promising start against a fellow 18-year-old, Alexandra Eala from the Philippines, in their second-round meeting. The Perth athlete led 6-4 4-2, before bowing out in three sets.

Eala, who won the Roland Garros girls’ doubles title three years ago and trains at the Rafa Nadal Academy in Spain, also recovered from a 2-4 deficit in the deciding set before closing out a hard-fought 4-6 6-4 7-5 victory.

Final qualifying round matches will be split across two days in Paris, with only Sharma scheduled to compete on day four.