Coco Gauff, Lila Fernandez, Carlos Alcaraz and Holger Ron

Limited experience? seasoned opponents? Unexpected of possibilities? None of these were a problem for a group of teenagers who didn’t hold back with their French Open quarter-final performances on the line.

on Monday, Holger Ron He achieved one of the biggest tournament surprises to date with a 7-5, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory over the 2021 finalist. Stefanos Tsitsipas. Ron came to Paris after not winning a match in a major draw and is now two wins away from the Roland Garros final.

Join Coco Gauff, Laila Fernandez And the Carlos Alcaraz – all triumphed on Sunday – in taking the last huge step in their young career. Chinwen Cheng He seemed ready to join them after taking the first set over the world number 1 Iga Sweatk in their game on Monday before an injury to her right leg hampered her efforts.

Thanks to Ron and Alcaraz, the 2022 French Open is the first major tournament since 1994 with two youngsters entering the quarter-finals. It seems clear that the future is very much in the way of tennis – and perhaps nothing demonstrates that more than this foursome. So, how did they get here and what stands in their way to the semi-finals? Let’s review.

Holger Ron

Ron made his Grand Slam debut at the 2021 US Open, after passing the playoffs, winning fans and tennis fans everywhere with a fearless performance in a four-set loss to the world number one. Novak Djokovic In the match of the night on Arthur Ashe. Even Djokovic was impressed by what he saw.

“I’m sure we’ll see a lot of him in the future,” he said of Ron after the match.

And so we have it especially during the mud season. Ron won the first ATP title of his career in Munich in April and reached the semi-finals in Lyon. This momentum has been fully demonstrated in Paris. He opened play with a stunning 6-3, 6-1, 7-6 (4) victory over the 14th seed Denis Shapovalov – He didn’t look back. His match against Tsitsipas marked his first dropped group in the tournament.

He started the year at number 103, reached Paris at number 40 and would enter the top 30 next. He became the first Danish man in history to reach the quarter-finals of any major tournament, and the third player from the country to do so.

The win might come as a surprise to many, and Ron admitted his nervousness at the end, but said he knew he could do it.

“My ultimate goal is to be No. 1 in the world,” Ron said. “I won’t hide it, because it has always been. I know there’s a long way to go. There was a longer way, but now I’m getting closer and closer.

“I believe in myself, I can also defeat this type of player.”

Next time, No. 8 seed Ron will play Casper Road A Scandinavian showdown with both players looking to play their first Grand Slam semi-finals. Rudd has won all of their previous three matches – all on clay – but even Ron himself is aware of his progress.

“I’m getting better every day,” Ron said earlier in the tournament. “I try to improve 1% a day to always do things a little better than the day before. I think that really helped me a lot.”

Coco Guff

Gauff has been seen as the next big thing in the sport since her star-making role at Wimbledon in 2019, when she reached the fourth round as a 15-year-old qualifier. Since then, she’s won two WTA singles titles (and four in doubles) and achieved the best major result of her career last year at Roland Garros by reaching the quarter-finals.

Gauff’s marital partner, Jessica PegolaShe admitted there were some nerves because of all the turmoil on her side of the unpredictable draw. But Goff showed no signs of that. In fact, the group has not fallen yet. After winning 6-4, 6-0 Elise Mertens On Sunday, she said she’s never felt more comfortable at a Grand Slam event.

“I’m really enjoying the tournament, I’m enjoying life,” Goff said of her new position. “I don’t think about, you know, the end result. I just enjoy the match in front of me and everything that happens, that happens — it’s out of my control. I’ll do my best either way.”

Of course, it’s easy to enjoy playing tennis when you can take shots like the ones below:

If Gauff, who recently graduated from high school, wants to reach the first ever major semi-final of her career, she will have to pass the 2017 US Open champion and qualify for the 2018 French Open final. Sloane Stephens. The two have known each other since Gauff was number one (even Stevens, 29, attended her 10th birthday party) and played against each other for the first time on tour at the US Open in September. Stephens convincingly won the second-round match 6-4, 6-2, but Gauff admitted on Sunday that she was “very nervous” before that match.

“I think a lot of people expected a lot from me in that match. I will participate, if I play [Stephens]I’ll approach him like any other game. Obviously I have to go back and watch that match and see what I can learn from it.”

If Gauff wins, she will likely face Fernandez in the semifinals.

Laila Fernandez

Fernandes stunned the world with what appeared to be a race to come out of nowhere at the US Open in 2021. She improbably toppled three of the top five players, including the defending champion Naomi OsakaOn the way to the final. Fernandez eventually fell to his teenage teammate Emma RadukanoShe did, however, make it clear that she was a player watching the infinite future.

Fernandez appears to have rediscovered her status at the US Open in Paris, with impressive three-set victories over the Olympic champion. Belinda Pencik In the third round, and previously reached the semi-finals of the French Open Amanda Anisimova Sunday. Fernandez has won five of her last six matches in the victory over Anisimova – and she couldn’t hide her feelings when it was over:

“Every time I go out on the field, I still have something to prove,” Fernandez said after the match. “I still have that mentality that I’m the underdog. I’m still young, I still have a lot to show people, to the public, so they can enjoy the tennis match.”

Next time Fernandes will face the rise Martina Trevisan in the quarter-finals on Tuesday. Trevisan, 28, made a surprising run in the 2020 French Open quarter-finals and is fresh with his Moroccan Open title last week. The two had never played before, but Fernandez said she was looking forward to facing another left-handed player and hadn’t thought after the match.

“I think winning the French Open is a long way from here, and I just want to enjoy today’s victory and prepare for my next match,” she said.

No matter what happens to Fernandez this week, she will improve to a career high. It is expected to rise to 14th, and a win over Trevisan would put it outside the top ten.

Carlos Alcaraz

Alcaraz also made a name for himself at the 2021 US Open, thanks to his stunning five-set win over the No. 3 seed. Stefanos Tsitsipas in the third round, which helped him make his first major quarter-final appearance in his career.

Since then, Alcaraz has racked up four titles this season, including two at the Masters 1000 level. He’s riding a 14-game winning streak unbeaten since mid-April. He now ranks sixth in his career – and probably plays better than that number suggests.

In Paris, he was challenged in an unexpected five-set showdown with fellow Spanish player Albert Ramos Vinolas In the second round, but he found a way to win – and since then he’s been dominant. had won Sebastian Kordathe last man to beat this season, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 in the third round and never had a problem with the 21st seed Karen Khachanov Sunday:

While all eyes are on who can meet Alcaraz in the semi-finals – Rafael Nadal or Novak DjokovicHeard about them? – He must first pass Classifier No. 3 Alexander Zverev. They have played against each other three times: Zverev won twice, but Alcaraz sent 6-3, 6-1 in their last meeting in the Madrid final. Later, Zverev called him “the best in the world right now.”

Alcaraz seems well aware of the expectations and hopes of facing Nadal or Djokovic (both were defeated in Madrid), but he has downplayed it all so far.

“Well, if I win, I’m just playing against one of them,” Alcaraz said this week. “I think I’m ready. Playing against them is different [here]And the [because] In the Masters 1000 or other tournament, the best of three, [and a best of five] in [a] Grand slam, but I say I’m ready.”