Biggest surprises of Roland-Garros 2022

With the champions crowned, take a deeper look into the unheralded names that caused a stir in Paris

Holger Rune, huitièmes de finale, Roland-Garros 2022©Philippe Montigny / FFT
 - Dan Imhoff

From a Scandinavian teenager on his breakout Grand Slam quarter-final run to China's next great hope bidding to follow in the footsteps of former champion Li Na, Roland-Garros 2022 featured a swag of the unexpected.

Here are some of the biggest surprises from the fortnight in Paris.

Dane makes maiden Slam quarter-final

Ample hype swirled around Spanish wunderkind Carlos Alcaraz as he took his place in his second Roland-Garros main draw, but few expected another 19-year-old to join him in the quarter-finals in Paris.

Holger Rune sounded sufficient warning he could make an impact after capturing his maiden title on clay in Munich leading in, but the world No.40 and tournament debutant was handed a tricky opener if he was to get out of the gates.

The 14th seed, Denis Shapovalov, provided little resistance and Rune did not drop a set en route to the second week of a major for the first time.

When he ousted last year’s runner-up and fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, Rune became the first Danish man to reach the last eight at Roland-Garros - and first at any Grand Slam in the Open Era - before Casper Ruud claimed an all-Scandinavian dog fight.

Holger Rune, Roland Garros 2022, quarter-final© Cédric Lecocq/FFT

Parry takes down defending champion

The sight of Roland-Garros on her journey to primary school fuelled Diane Parry’s dream daily of becoming the next great French player.

The Nice-born talent did not have to wait long to experience competing on the world’s most famous clay courts when she made her qualifying debut as a 13-year-old six years ago.

As fate would have it, the 19-year-old drew defending champion and second seed Barbora Krejcikova in the opening round.

Trailing a set under a closed roof on Court Philippe-Chatrier, the world No.97 wowed the home fans with her grit and flowing single-handed backhand as she sprung the biggest upset of Day 2.

The teenager backed up her breakthrough with victory over Colombian Camila Osorio before running into 2018 runner-up Sloane Stephens.

Diane Parry / Deuxième tour Roland-Garros 2022©Nicolas Gouhier / FFT

Qualifier slips under the radar

When a pair of Spanish title heavyweights hog most of the limelight back home, a 25-year-old qualifier from Valencia taking his place in the main draw in Paris is hardly going to hit headlines.

Bernabe Zapata Miralles’ Grand Slam CV showed he had only won one round at the US Open last year, but the world No.131 quickly matched that result before an upset of 13th seed Taylor Fritz for his first top-15 win.

Zapata Miralles was not done dismissing more fancied Americans just yet as he edged 23rd seed John Isner in five sets before stretching world No.3 Alexander Zverev in his fourth-round debut.

"He was driving me nuts, to be honest," Zverev said. "He’s one of the fastest guys on tour, I could barely hit a winner against him. We played three sets but we played close to three hours.

"He’s playing incredible tennis, so if he continues playing like this I don’t see why his ranking is not going to go up even more."

Bernabe Zapata Miralles, Roland Garros 2022, fourth round© Julien Crosnier/FFT

Zheng draws on Li Na's title for motivation

Roland-Garros 2018 champion Simona Halep made mention of the barrage she weathered against Chinese qualifier Zheng Qinwen en route to her 23rd career title at the season-opening Melbourne Summer Set.

So the former world No.1 knew exactly what to expect when the pair crossed paths again in Paris.

The 19-year-old Zheng, who cited Li Na’s run to the title in 2011 as her inspiration, was contesting just her second major, but showed composure beyond her years to send Halep packing.

The world No.74’s 2-6, 6-2, 6-1 result in just under two hours was her first top-20 victory and came on the back of 27 winners.

The teenager went on to reach the fourth round at a major for the first time and gave top seed Iga Swiatek an almighty fright, becoming the first player in 10 matches to take a set off her before falling 6-7(5), 6-0, 6-2.

Zheng Qinwen, Roland Garros 2022, second round© Corinne Dubreuil/FFT