French Open 2013: Highlighting Top Performers in Qualifying Draw Thus Far

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French Open 2013: Highlighting Top Performers in Qualifying Draw Thus Far
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Before Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams get their chance to shine in the main draw at the 2013 French Open in Roland Garros this summer, the qualifiers will have their moment in the sun.

As second-round qualifying action comes to a close, a handful of underdogs are just one win away from joining tennis' top stars in next week's main draw.

Here we'll highlight some of the top performers in Paris heading into the third round of the qualifying draw.

 

James Duckworth

Aussie James Duckworth, 21, has played solid clay-court tennis this week in Paris, beating countryman Alex Bolt in the opening round of the qualifying draw and then overcoming Argentine Diego Sebastian Schwartzman in Round 2.

In his three-set win over Schwartzman, Duckworth was sensational. He recorded 12 aces and committed just two unforced errors, according to IBM SlamTracker.

The emerging Australian will take on Serbian Dusan Lajovic in the third round for a spot in the main draw next week. With a win, Duckworth can launch his racquet in celebration rather than disgust. 

Duckworth has played in the Australian Open twice, reaching the second round in Melbourne in 2012 and 2013. He has never played in the main draw at any other Slam event. 

 

Stephanie Vogt

Stephanie Vogt, a 23-year-old native of Liechtenstein, currently ranks outside the WTA Top 200. However, that hasn't stopped her from winning matches in the early goings of the French Open.

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Vogt defeated Italy's Maria Elena Camerin in her opening match, winning seven of nine break points to take the match in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4. Vogt was even better in her second-round win, knocking off Romania's Andreea Mitu, 6-2, 6-2 after converting on five of six break-point chances.

Vogt is looking to earn her first-ever berth in a Grand Slam tournament. She was knocked out in the qualifying draw at the 2012 U.S. Open and a few months ago at the 2013 Australian Open.

What's more, Vogt can make history for her country in the third round in Paris (via The Guardian's Alex Macpherson):

 

Rhyne Williams

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Despite ranking outside the ATP Top 100, 22-year-old Rhyne Williams is playing brilliant tennis in Roland Garros this May.

In his first-round qualifying match against Boy Westerhof, Williams recorded eight aces and scored four quick break points before his opponent was forced to retire while trailing a set and a game.

Williams was phenomenal again in the second round, defeating Frenchman Mathias Bourgue in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4. Williams recorded seven aces and 43 winners in the victory.

The Knoxville, Tennessee native is looking to earn his first-ever berth in the French Open after bowing out in the first round of the 2013 Australian Open four months ago. Williams, seeded 15th in the men's qualifying draw, will take on 22nd-seeded Pole Michal Przysiezny in Round 3.

The winner will advance to play against the big boys in the main draw. 

 

Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter. 

Follow _Pat_Clarke on Twitter

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