Europe 1 with AFP 18:02 p.m., June 04, 2023

Tomas Martin Etcheverry, Nicolas Jarry, Francisco Cerundolo, Juan Pablo Varillas or Sebastian Ofner, this year, five players who had never won a match at Roland-Garros find themselves in the knockout stages. Discover these players that we did not expect at this stage of the competition.

What do Tomas Martin Etcheverry, Nicolas Jarry, Francisco Cerundolo, Juan Pablo Varillas and Sebastian Ofner have in common? These five players had never won a single match at Porte d'Auteuil before reaching the knockout stages this year at Roland-Garros, in an edition placed under the sign of the unexpected. Ten of the top sixteen seeds in the men's draw were eliminated in the first week of the Paris Grand Slam. Such a massacre had not occurred in Paris since the 2008 edition, and is partly explained by the unexpected performances of lesser-known players.

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Tomas Martin Etcheverry

The Argentine (49th) has already hung two Top 20 on his chase board since the beginning of the tournament: Australian Alex de Minaur (number 18 seed) player in the world) in the second round, then Croatian Borna Coric (number 15) in the third. The slender player (1.95 m) is gradually crossing the levels this season. He won his first Major match earlier this year at the Australian Open.

But it's clay that the 23-year-old prefers. "I was born on clay," he says. In Argentina, we always play on this surface, I play a lot of tournaments there. I feel very comfortable." His run could continue as he faces an opponent within his reach, Yoshihito Nishioka (33rd), Monday for a place in the quarterfinals.

Nicolas Jarry

The Chilean, 35th in the world, had to get rid of the American Tommy Paul (number 16) to get there. Before that, he had managed to pass a round in the other three Majors, on one occasion. Jarry (27 years old, 1.98 m) has since felt like he has passed a milestone mentally: "After all these years, here I am finally in the second week. I worked in different ways on myself with a psychologist, to analyze myself more, by writing."

He is undoubtedly a clay specialist, as evidenced by his "ranking" on this surface since the beginning of the season: 8th in the world, with sixteen wins for six losses. Norway's Casper Ruud, finalist of the last edition, now faces him in eighth on Monday.

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Francisco Cerundolo

Of all these players with unexpected performances, the Argentine is perhaps the best. In any case, he is the one who is experiencing the strongest progression this season, at 24 years old. He reached the third round of the Australian Open earlier this year, then the semis at the Masters 1000 in Rome and the final of the ATP 250 in Strasbourg.

Cerundolo has beaten three members of the Top 10 in recent weeks, including American Taylor Fritz (number 9) on Saturday on the Parisian ochre. "I don't feel Top 10 yet because I'm not even in the Top 20. But I'm working on it, I think I'm getting closer, I have to keep moving forward, winning, improving." After entering the Top 100 just over a year ago, he is now 23rd.

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Sebastian Ofner

A third round at Wimbledon in 2017, then nothing. The Austrian had completely disappeared from the radar in the Majors before this edition of Roland-Garros, where he came out of qualifying before beating, among others, the Italian Fabio Fognini in a marathon of five sets 5-7, 6-3, 7-5, 1-6, 6-4.

At 27 years old, the 118th world offers the best course of his career in Grand Slam but faces this Sunday the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas (number 5), finalist in Australia this year and at Roland-Garros two years ago.

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Juan Pablo Varillas

The adventure stopped logically in the eighth final for the 27-year-old Peruvian against Novak Djokovic, who took him out unceremoniously Sunday on the Central in three sets 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 in less than two hours. The 94th player in the ATP rankings had previously fought three fights in five sets, including going back in the second round a two-set handicap against Spaniard Roberto Bautista (number 19) 1-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-1, 6-1 before eliminating Poland's Hubert Hurkacz (number 13) 6-2 in the fifth set on Friday.

Varillas is well aware of the scope of his adventure, rare for a player from his country: "It's great for my country. There are not many professional players. It's not really an option there." He hopes to be an "example for children". "If you work, if you stay disciplined, if you believe in yourself, it's possible to become a professional," he tells them.