Carol Zhao hits a forehand.

Photo : @CarolZhao95

Canada’s Wimbledon contingent grew by one on Thursday when Carol Zhao completed her quest to qualify for a Grand Slam main draw.

The 28-year-old made it through qualifying for the first time in her career, clinching her spot in the 128-woman main draw with a straight-set win over Coco Vandeweghe in straight sets.

She joins Bianca Andreescu and Leylah Annie Fernandez in the women’s singles draw. Félix Auger-Aliassime, Denis Shapovalov, and Milos Raonic are expected to play on the men’s side.

It was Zhao’s ninth attempt to qualify for a Grand Slam event. The closest she had previously come was at the French Open in 2021, when she lost in the final round of qualifying. In the Canadian’s only previous attempt at qualifying for Wimbledon, she had lost in the first round in 2018.

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Four other Canadians lost in the first two rounds of qualifying this year: Eugenie Bouchard, Gabriel Diallo, Vasek Pospisil and Katherine Sebov.

In order to make her major breakthrough, Zhao did it the hard way by coming back from a set down in each of her first two qualifying matches against Emily Appleton and second qualifying seed Arantxa Rus before defeating Vandeweghe 7-6(4), 6-4 in the third and final round. The American had beaten Zhao in her last match before Wimbledon in Berlin qualifying in straight sets.

There was little between the two women in the opening set, as Zhao held the only two break points but was unable to convert. A forehand unforced error from Vandeweghe on the first point of the tiebreak ended up making the difference as it gave the Canadian a minibreak which she maintained to take the first set.

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The second set saw a few more break opportunities for both women but again neither was able to convert as the first nine games went with serve.

As the American served to stay in the match at 4-5, Zhao made her move. The Canadian went up 15-40, double match point, and converted the second to seal her spot in the main draw of a Grand Slam for the first time in her career.

The singles draws for Wimbledon will be announced on Friday.