Rebecca Marino moved into the second round of the 2022 Roland Garros qualifying with a controlled 6-4, 6-3 victory over Paula Ormaechea on Tuesday.

The match started ominously with a service break by the No. 148-ranked Argentine but swiftly turned Marino’s way and she soon led 4-1.

She had a point for 5-1 and then lost a bit of her edge as the somewhat high-strung and erratic Ormaechea settled and took advantage of a lapse by her opponent. She leveled the score at 4-all and even had a point to go ahead 5-4. That’s when Marino played some of her best tennis, coming back to win that game and the next with a beautifully-struck, outright backhand winner on her second set point.

Marino, who served well enough but not necessarily up to her high standard, grabbed a 3-0 lead in the second set, and had two break points for a 5-1 lead. She failed to convert them but soon comfortably closed out the match in an hour and 26 minutes on a hot afternoon (30 degrees) on Court 12.

“I’m actually quite happy with that match,” Marino said, “clay courts are her home territory so I knew it would be challenging.”

The 31-year-old from Vancouver hit 32 winners to go with 30 unforced errors while Ormaechea (above) was a modest six winners and 14 unforced errors.

The key for Marino on clay is not getting too far away from an aggressive, power game that has earned her impressive rewards on hard courts. “I think that’s how my game style is – knowing when my opportunity arises and not being scared, being brave enough to go after the ball,” she said. “That’s what I try to remind myself – not just this match but any match, any surface.”

Marino lost in the qualifying in 2019 to Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan at a time when a case of plantar fasciitis was beginning in her foot that would ultimately lead to a lengthy rehab period away from the game.

Back in 2011, she reached the third round in her first and only Roland Garros main draw appearance. “I have memories of playing (Svetlana) Kuznetsova in the third round and the matches before that,” she recalled. “People telling me that clay isn’t my best surface but I want to prove you wrong. So I’m hoping to have that same mindset this year – almost 10 years later. Ten years ago after losing in the third round, my cousins and my aunt and uncle were here and they wanted to walk up the Eiffel Tower and (she laughs) after losing my match.” That did not happen.

“Just because hard courts suit me doesn’t mean I don’t like clay. I heard another player say – someone asked her ‘do you like clay?’ and she was like “I like tennis.” I’m stealing that because I like that mindset. I’m here to play and I like tennis. That’s what it boils down to.”

In the second round on Wednesday, she plays No. 210-ranked Katarina Zavatska. Marino defeated the 22-year-old 6-3, 6-2 in the qualifiers for the Miami Open in March. “I know that she’s very strong mentally,” she said about the Ukrainian. “And she’s coming back from injury and Miami was her first event so she’s gotten her feet under her and a little bit more. I’m expecting a fight regardless and I’m going to try to bring my A-game. That’s where I’m at with that match.”

Zavatska had an impressive win in Billie Jean King Cup action when Ukraine faced the United States in Asheville, North Carolina, last month – beating No. 46-ranked Shelby Rogers 6-3, 6-2.

Marino is on a fine streak at the moment – having qualified at last year’s final Grand Slam, the US Open, and this year’s first one – the Australian Open. That’s seven qualifying matches in a row.

Looking ahead to the next Grand Slam, Wimbledon starting on June 27, she has a chance to be direct entry, helped by the fact that it looks as if about eleven Russian and Belarussian players will not be allowed to play at the All England Club. Her ranking is No. 116 for the entry list and the Wimbledon cut-off is No. 108 – but can vary depending on players who withdraw or players who use protected rankings to get a coveted main-draw spot.

“It’ll be what it’ll be with Wimbledon,” she said. “I don’t think they’ve made a decision yet – the WTA, the ATP or the ITF – so I’m just expecting that I’m going to play qualifying until that list is final. We’ll see what happens. It’ll be close regardless.”

Her next match, Wednesday against Zavatska, is scheduled for third on Court 15 after a 10 a.m. (4 a.m. ET Canada) start.

There was a noisy crowd on Court 6 on Tuesday afternoon supporting one of its own, Frenchman Hugo Grenier. Unfortunately, it was in vain.

Around the grounds

On an early evening tour around the Roland Garros grounds, one could spy this object high in the sky just outside the main Court Philippe Chatrier.

A little sleuthing and it was learned that the Fédération Francaise de Tennis was elevating some special guests to great heights to get a special – strapped in – view of the tournament site.

Another group of 10 or so people were waiting to replace those already high in the sky with a privileged view of the Roland Garros world below.

This was just a one-off, one-day event – there will be no more high flyers (about 250 feet in the air) once the tournament starts.