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Bouchard qualifies for Wimbledon

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LONDON—Eugenie Bouchard has qualified for the main draw at Wimbledon.

The Canadian upset No. 2 qualifying seed Mariana Duque-Marino of Colombia 6-3, 6-2 in the final round of qualifying today to book a spot in the main draw next week.

A finalist at Wimbledon just four years ago, the 24-year-old from Westmount, Que. was forced into the qualification draw this year because her ranking has slipped to No. 191 in the world.

Bouchard's win over Duque-Marino, ranked No. 97, was her first triumph over a top-100 player since January.

It will mark the sixth-straight year Bouchard plays in the main women's draw at Wimbledon since winning the junior title in 2012.

Meanwhile, Brayden Schnur of Pickering, Ont., fell one win short of reaching the main draw as he lost 7-6 (3), 7-5, 6-1 to American Chris Harrison in the final round of men's qualifying today.

Milos Raonic of Thornhill, Denis Shapovalov of Richmond Hill, Ont., and Vasek Pospisil of Vancouver received direct entry into the main draw.

Serena Williams, meanwhile, was seeded No. 25 for her return to Wimbledon after having a baby—a decision by the All England Club announced yesterday that elevates the tournament's seven-time champion above her ranking of 183rd.

While WTA rules allow women who miss time because of a pregnancy to enter events based on their pre-absence ranking, there is no guarantee of a seeding—a policy which has been the subject of much debate in recent months because of Williams' status.

The 36-year-old American gave birth to a daughter last September and was off the tour for more than a year.

By moving Williams into the top 32, the All England Club afforded her “protection” from facing any other seeded player in either of the first two rounds—and, of course, allowed the other seeds to avoid facing her that early, too.

Williams is a former No. 1 whose 23 major singles championships are a record for the professional era, which began in 1968.

She missed Wimbledon in 2017 but won the title the last two times she was in the field (in 2015 and 2016).

Wimbledon and other Grand Slam tournaments have leeway to stray from strictly following the WTA and ATP rankings when determining seedings.

That's why, for example, eight-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer's success on grass courts was taken into account when the All England Club bumped him up a spot to No. 1 yesterday while top-ranked Rafael Nadal is seeded No. 2.

When Williams entered the French Open in May, her first Grand Slam action in 16 months, she was not seeded by the French tennis federation.

She wound up beating the women ranked No. 11 and No. 17 en route to reaching the fourth round.

But because of an injured pectoral muscle, Williams pulled out of Roland Garros before what would have been a showdown against five-time major champion Maria Sharapova.

The U.S. Tennis Association says it does intend to seed Williams for the U.S. Open, which begins in August.

That is part of a new plan, first reported by The New York Times, to take into account if a pregnancy affected a player's ranking.

Aside from the All England Club's placing of Williams, the women's seedings align with the rankings.

So French Open champion Simona Halep is No. 1, Australian Open Caroline Wozniacki is No. 2, reigning Wimbledon champ Garbine Muguruza is No. 3, and U.S. Open champ Sloane Stephens is No. 4.

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