Day 7 Diary: South Americans fly the flags

Chilean Nicolas Jarry continues impressive year on clay to set up Ruud clash

Nicolas Jarry, Roland-Garros 2023, third round© Corinne Dubreuil/FFT
 - Dan Imhoff

A bounty of South Americans will feature in Week 2 action, while world No.1 Iga Swiatek's numbers bring her level with a Roland-Garros legend.

Jarry rising

One of the most dangerous unseeded names in this year’s men’s draw, Nicolas Jarry is on a roll.

In a whirlwind season in which he started ranked outside the top 150, the Chilean has carved a rapid route to a career-best world No.35 following titles at home in Santiago and last week, in Geneva.

His 6-2, 6-3, 6-7(7), 6-3 win over American Marcos Giron was his 19th on clay this year, second only to Carlos Alcaraz, and set up a showdown with fourth seed Casper Ruud.

The 27-year-old credits working on his mindset as the key contributor to his hot streak on clay this season.

“Before, I was very emotional and when things didn't go my way, I would lower the energy,” Jarry said after his third-round match in which he struck 55 winners.

“I've been working in different angles on myself, with a psychologist trying to analyse myself more, writing more about myself, doing a lot of psychological work.”

Strength in numbers

Jarry is one of four South American men through to the fourth round – the most since 2005 – alongside Argentines Tomas Martin Etcheverry and Francisco Cerundolo, and Peruvian Juan Pablo Varillas.

In the women's draw, Brazilian 14th seed Beatriz Haddad Maia made it five South Americans after saving a match point to deny Ekaterina Alexandrova.

"I wasn't serving my best, I wasn't returning my best, I wasn't playing the shots that I would like and I know that I have a quality, which is try and keep fighting," Haddad Maia said. "I think today was the key to make it to the next round."

Beatriz Haddad Maia, 3e tour, Roland-Garros 2023©Julien Crosnier / FFT

Yoshi on the move

It is all finally coming together for world No.33, Yoshihito Nishioka.

The Japanese lefty had notched up just one third-round showing at a major in 26 attempts before this season.

After denying Thiago Seyboth Wild, 3-6, 7-6(8), 2-6, 6-4, 6-0 on Saturday, the 27-year-old has now reached two straight Grand Slam fourth rounds.

The key for a player just 170cm tall is good wheels.

“Down 3-6 in the tiebreak, still I fight. I never give up. This is the reason why I made a round of 16 today,” he said.

“Always my game is long, tough and I had to think many things. I had to run because I don’t have power that much. I have to run to balls a lot… This is an amazing feeling. Australian Open first time I made a round of 16, [now] also here as well.”

A first-time major quarter-finalist is assured when Nishioka and 49th-ranked surprise packet Etcheverry square off.

Gauff steps up as seasoned campaigner

Long the standard-bearer of the current teenage crop, Coco Gauff remembers the feeling of competing in a Grand Slam main draw at 16.

At that age, Gauff had already reached the fourth round twice – at Wimbledon and the Australian Open – before her second-round exit in Paris.

On Saturday, she brought qualifier Mirra Andreeva’s impressive run to a halt, 6-7(5), 6-1, 6-1, but had nothing but praise for the 16-year-old.

“I remember I was here playing at 16 years old so she has a lot to look forward to,” Gauff said. “Hopefully you'll see many of the matches between the two of us here…

“Even up to two years or a year ago I was playing people for the first time a lot so I'm quite used to it. And we've practised together this week actually, so I'm sure she picked up some of my tendencies in that practice and I picked up some of hers… Today she proved she belongs where she is and belongs to go even further.”

Pole's dominance laid bare

Two-time champion Swiatek had pundits reaching for the record books following her 6-0, 6-0 trouncing of Wang Xinyu.

While most were focused on the number of sets in which she dished out a bagel, perhaps more telling was her overall winning percentage at Roland-Garros.

Her third match win in Paris this year improves the world No.1's record to 24-2 and draws her level with Chris Evert’s 92.3 per cent for the second highest winning ratio in the Open Era at Roland-Garros. She now trails only Margaret Court’s 95.2 per cent.