For first time since '82, three U.S. men qualify in Paris

by: AP May 24, 2013

AP Photo

PARIS—Three U.S. men have qualified for the French Open for the first time in more than 30 years.

Jack Sock of Lincoln, Neb., Denis Kudla of Arlington, Va., and Steve Johnson of Orange, Calif., all won their qualifying matches Friday to earn berths in the main draw at Roland Garros.

A trio of American men hadn't done that together in Paris since 1982, when Charles Strode, Craig Wittus and Derek Tarr qualified. That year, all three lost in the first round of the main tournament.

Kudla tweeted: "Americans on clay. We are not that bad!"

Sock's first opponent will be Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain, Kudla meets Jan Hajek of the Czech Republic and Johnson plays Albert Montanes of Spain.

Sock and Kudla are both 20; Johnson is 23. None has played in the French Open before.

They'll be joined in the main draw by Rhyne Williams, a 22-year-old from Knoxville, Tenn., who lost in qualifying but got into the tournament as a "lucky loser" — a player who sneaks into the field via someone's withdrawal.

In the first round, Williams will face Michal Przysiezny of Poland, who just so happens to be the player who beat Williams in qualifying.

The French Open starts Sunday.

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