Wildcard Romance In Paris
Published May 20, 2015 12:12
Ranked well outside the Top 100 after battling a serious back injury for much of the previous year, Pierce rolled back the years to reach the quarterfinals before finally running out of gas against eventual champion Serena Williams.
None of the wildcards for this year's tournament have Pierce's pedigree, but all will secretly be dreaming of extending their stay into the second week.
A couple have already had their taste of Roland Garros glory, most notably Virginie Razzano, who three years ago caused one of the greatest shocks in the tournament's history when she inflicted upon Serena Williams her first - and to date only - opening round loss at a major.
Razzano, now ranked No.251, also reached the fourth round in 2009, and will be well aware that she could now be drinking in the Last Chance Saloon. The other French recipients in the draw are a mixture of youth and experience: Manon Arcangioli, Océane Dodin, Fiona Ferro, Amandine Hesse, Mathilde Johansson and Alizé Lim.
The other wildcard slot has been allocated to Louisa Chirico, who secured her first appearance in the main draw of a Grand Slam by clinching the 2015 Har-Tru USTA Pro Circuit Wild Card Challenge a few weeks ago.
Chirico turned 19 last week and is the latest talent to emerge from America's prolific production line. Last season, she put in the hard graft on the ITF Circuit, winning 45 matches and one title to break into the Top 200 for the first time. This upwards trajectory has continued into 2015, Chirico qualifying for her maiden WTA tournament, in Acapulco, picking up another ITF title as she closes in on the Top 100.
This improvement has not gone unnoticed, leading to a main draw wildcard for the BNP Paribas Open and an invite to attend Sven Groeneveld's adidas training program.