2017 Nurnberg finalist Barbora Krejcikova and Italian Fed Cup heroine Deborah Chiesa are among the players making their Grand Slam debuts at Roland Garros 2018.
Alex Macpherson
May 26, 2018

PARIS, France - Six players will break new ground when Roland Garros begins next week by making their debut in the main draw of a Grand Slam. Get to know more about them here at wtatennis.com.

Tutto vero?!😍🙌🏻🔥 #RG18 #maindraw

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Deborah Chiesa (ITA)

In February, the 21-year-old Italian became a national heroine when, as a Fed Cup debutante, she clinched the deciding World Group II first-round rubber against Spain in the closest possible way - a 6-4, 2-6, 7-6(7) win over Lara Arruabarrena that was also Chiesa's second ever Top 100 victory. But the Trento native's rise had begun in earnest the previous May, when - ranked World No.470 - she won five matches in the Internazionali BNL d'Italia wildcard play-off to earn a booth in her first WTA main draw.

Though Chiesa lost her first-round match to Lesia Tsurenko, it sparked a phenomenal rise to No.219 by the end of the year, thanks to three ITF $25,000 titles in Torino, Santa Margherita di Pula and Zawada, a $60,000 final in Hechingen and an overall 54-23 record in 2017. This year she's kept on going and currently sits at a career high of No.163 - and impressed with her backhand and defence as she defeated the in-form Tamara Zidansek and former World No.61 Arantxa Rus to come through qualifying.

Americans in Europe 🤔#dontsleeponme

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Caroline Dolehide (USA)

When Caroline Dolehide captured her biggest title to date at the ITF $60,000 event in Indian Harbour Beach in April, the American became the front runner in the USTA's race for a Roland Garros wildcard this year. But rather than compete for the handout, the powerful 19-year-old instead opted out of the subsequent green clay ITFs to find her footing on European red clay - and though she lost in qualifying in both Rabat and Madrid, it's a decision that clearly paid off as she came through the preliminary rounds in Paris.

Caroline Dolehide - Indian Wells 2018 - Getty
Caroline Dolehide strikes a forehand against Simona Halep at Indian Wells 2018 (Getty)

The Illinois native overcame a significant setback when, as a 16-year-old Top 20 junior, she broke her ankle in 2015 and was forced on to the sidelines for five months. It didn't affect her transition to the pro ranks on her return, and two-and-a-half years later Dolehide has already scored several eye-catching results at WTA level en route to her current ranking of No.126. Her main draw debut at Stanford in 2017 was a stunning 6-4, 6-2 upset of Naomi Osaka, but it was at Indian Wells this year that Dolehide served notice of her potential. A 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 second-round win over Dominika Cibulkova for her first Top 30 victory was impressive enough, but overpowering World No.1 Simona Halep for a set and pushing the Romanian to the brink of defeat and a 1-6, 7-6(3), 6-2 scoreline turned even more heads.

MAIN DRAW @rolandgarros 😍💪🏼🌪🇫🇷 #RG18 #Huracaneros

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Georgina García Pérez (ESP)

Though Georgina García Pérez tried the ITF Pro Circuit out for a couple of years as a teenager, it wasn't until she returned from a three-year break from the sport as a 22-year-old that her career really began. Racking up 10 ITF titles between 2015 and this year, the big-serving, 6'2" Spaniard has blasted her way into the Top 200, and hit a career high of No.146 in April after qualifying for her first WTA main draws in Budapest and Charleston. 

The 26-year-old, who has made no secret of her aim to break the record for fastest ever WTA serve, has won seven of her eight three-set matches this year - including an epic 7-5, 2-6, 7-6(5) victory in the second round of qualifying in Paris over last year's junior runner-up Claire Liu.

Dalila Jakupovic (SLO)

When Dalila Jakupovic failed to close out a 5-2 final set lead in her final qualifying round against Mariana Duque-Mariño - or convert a match point she held on her own serve at 5-4 - the Slovenian No.2's dreams of her Grand Slam debut were put on ice in heartbreaking fashion. But a day later, the withdrawal of Timea Bacsinszky from the main draw has given Jakupovic a second chance as a lucky loser.

The 27-year-old's career has been a testament to persistence and slow, incremental improvement. Having begun playing the ITF Pro Circuit in 2007, it was five years before Jakupovic won her first $10,000 title, in Aurangabad, India - and another three years before she won her second, a $25,000 event in the same location. A Top 200 ranking was attained, at last, in 2016. The Jesenice native had qualified for her first WTA main draw in Monterrey in 2014, but only in 2017 did she begin winning matches at that level - starting with 2011 Roland Garros champion Francesca Schiavone in Taipei City last year. And she lost her first five matches in Grand Slam qualifying before notching up a first win at this year's Australian Open.

Despite dipping out of the Top 250 last November, the last six months have been the best of Jakupovic's career. A maiden WTA 125K final in Mumbai began the rebound, and has been backed up with her biggest title to date at the ITF $60,000 event in Canberra in March (defeating Australian prodigy Destanee Aiava in the final) and a first semifinal run in Bogotá, including a career-best win over No.2 seed Magda Linette. Consequently, the first Slovenian to debut in a Grand Slam since Tadeja Majeric at the 2014 Australian Open now sits at a career high ranking of No.121.

Barbora Krejcikova (CZE)

This time last year, Barbora Krejcikova was playing her maiden WTA final in Nurnberg where, as a qualifier ranked No.254, she shocked a run of higher-ranked opponents including Carina Witthoeft and Sorana Cirstea before falling to Kiki Bertens. Later that year, she would hit a career high of No.121. But the 22-year-old's singles progress has often been stymied by her doubles prowess: she has reached six WTA finals in the team discipline, including this year's Miami Open in tandem with Katerina Siniakova - with whom she also made the Roland Garros semifinals in 2016.

As the doubles World No.24, Krejcikova's schedule has almost exclusively focused on WTA events rather than packing on singles points in ITF tournaments - and as such, failing to defend last year's Nurnberg points will send her spiralling back out of the Top 200 this week. But an impressive run through qualifying, including victories over in-form 21-year-olds Anhelina Kalinina and Veronika Kudermetova, should prove to be just the rebuilding block Krejcikova needs.

Main draw!! @rolandgarros 😝🇫🇷

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Isabelle Wallace (AUS)

Last weekend, the Scottish-born World No.248 Isabelle Wallace defeated Destanee Aiava, Lizette Cabrera and Olivia Rogowska in a playoff for Tennis Australia's reciprocal Roland Garros wildcard. The 21-year-old had a breakthrough year on the ITF circuit in 2017, raising her ranking from No.646 to No.276 with a 55-22 win-loss record that included three ITF $15,000 titles and two $25,000 trophies.

The victories over her three higher-ranked compatriots marked an uptick in form for Wallace, who had been just 3-10 in 2018 prior to the playoff competition.