Six players will break new ground at Roland Garros 2024 by contesting the main draw of a Grand Slam for the first time. Get to know them here.

Julia Avdeeva

Not only had Julia Avdeeva never played in a Grand Slam qualifying draw before this week, the 21-year-old had never even contested any tour-level qualifying draw. No matter: in her opener, she upset Guadalajara quarterfinalist Emiliana Arango 6-4, 2-6, 6-3; and in the final round, she pulled off a 1-6, 6-3, 6-2 comeback over Olivia Gadecki to book her place in the main draw. Avdeeva will be plunged straight in at the deep end there: she has been drawn against US Open champion and No.3 seed Coco Gauff in the first round.

No.188-ranked Avdeeva’s powerful game is centred around a formidable first serve: in February, she slammed down 74 aces in five matches en route to winning the Altenkirchen ITF W75 event. Naturally, before this week most of her success had come on fast indoor courts, including her first two Top 100 wins over Jaqueline Cristian and Oceane Dodin in the past seven months.

It’s perhaps more surprising, then, that Avdeeva’s breakthrough has come on the slow clay of Paris. Her ace count in qualifying was a mere 18 over three matches. But Siberia-born Avdeeva, who patterns her game around Aryna Sabalenka, still managed to fire 120 winners in total this week, showing that power can still pay dividends on the clay.

Irene Burillo Escorihuela (ESP)

No.280-ranked Irene Burillo Escorihuela only just snuck into the qualifying draw with days to spare, and was the seventh-last direct entrant. But the 26-year-old Spaniard didn’t drop a set in coming through her three matches, culminating in a 6-1, 7-6(1) defeat of former No.21 Jil Teichmann.

Burillo Escorihuela is yet to crack the Top 200, having peaked at No.207 in January 2022. However, she made a notable run on home soil at Madrid 2023. As a qualifying wild card, she scored the first two Top 100 wins of her career over Tereza Martincova and Kaia Kanepi to reach the second round of the main draw. There, she led Coco Gauff 4-2 in the first set before succumbing.

Highlights: Burillo Escorihuela d. Kanepi, 2023 Madrid R1 | Gauff d. Burillo Escorihuela, 2023 Madrid R2

Curiously for a player whose success has mostly come on clay, Burillo Escorihuela’s biggest title to date was on hard courts at the 2021 Rome ITF W60, which she won as a qualifier via a win over Robin Montgomery in the quarterfinals. She will face fellow qualifier Moyuka Uchijima in the first round, with a potential second-round date with Aryna Sabalenka on the line.

Maria Lourdes Carle (ARG)

Four weeks ago, Maria Lourdes Carle turned heads in Madrid. As a qualifier, she took out Emma Raducanu and Veronika Kudermetova, both in straight sets, back-to-back to reach the third round — the first time she had won consecutive matches at tour level. That run boosted the 24-year-old Argentinian to a career high of No.71, and sealed her direct entry to the Roland Garros main draw.

Carle has long been one to watch, though. Back in 2017, she was a Top 10 junior, but opted to play a season of college tennis at the University of Georgia. In 2021, she delivered an eye-catching performance in the Billie Jean King Cup Qualifiers, defeating Elena Rybakina 6-4, 3-6, 6-0; indeed, Carle is the second-last player to have inflicted a 6-0 set on Rybakina.

Highlights: Carle d. Raducanu, 2024 Madrid R1 | Carl d. V. Kudermetova, 2024 Madrid R2 | Siegemund d. Carle, 2024 Rome R1

Since turning pro, Carle has steadily improved her ranking every year, all the while compiling an impressive 14-2 record in ITF and WTA 125 finals. Her two WTA 125 finals have both come in the last six months; Carle was the runner-up on home soil in Buenos Aires in December, but defeated Rebeka Masarova to claim the trophy in La Bisbal d’Empordà in April.

Carle, who had fallen in six previous Grand Slam qualifying campaigns, will open her first main draw against No.25 seed Elise Mertens.

Lucija Ciric Bagaric (CRO)

Like Avdeeva, Lucija Ciric Bagaric had never played any tour-level qualifying draw before this week, let alone a Grand Slam. But the 20-year-old Croatian did not drop a set en route to the main draw, defeating former Top 100 players Arina Rodionova and Rebecca Marino, then former junior No.2 Sara Saito.

Ciric Bagaric, herself a former Top 20 junior, made a significant surge in 2023. She her year-end ranking from No.742 to No.266 after reaching five ITF finals (including one title) and the Ljubljana WTA 125 quarterfinals between July and November. In 2024, she built on that spectacularly. Ciric Bagaric opened this year with a 23-match winning streak, including another four ITF W35 trophies, then notched her first Top 100 win over Oceane Dodin at the Lleida WTA 125 last month.

In the first round, Ciric Bagaric will face Peyton Stearns.

Julia Riera (ARG)

Just over a year ago, Julia Riera was sleeping on an airport floor as she tried to get to Rabat, where she had snuck into the main draw at the last minute. That was her first ever WTA main draw, and the No.252-ranked Argentinian made an impact immediately. She took down Mayar Sherif and Yulia Putintseva to make the semifinals — but also caught the eye with her creative touch and penchant for finesse in her game.

Highlights: Riera d. Sherif, 2023 Rabat R2 | Riera d. Putintseva, 2023 Rabat QF | Riera d. Alexandrova, 2024 Brisbane R2

After compiling a 55-27 overall record in 2023, Riera has built on that success in style this year. The 21-year-old opened 2024 by notching her first Top 30 win over Ekaterina Alexandrova on the hard courts of Brisbane. Titles at the Chiasso ITF W75 and Wiesbaden ITF W100 over the past month have enabled her to crack the Top 100 for the first time, and she’s now at a career high of No.93.

That rise came too late for entry to the Roland Garros main draw, though Riera is safely inside the Wimbledon cut. No matter; she simply sliced and diced her way through qualifying as the No.2 seed, defeating fellow finesse merchants Natalija Stevanovic and Harmony Tan in straight sets before denying 18-year-old Alexandra Eala 4-6, 7-6(3), 6-4. Riera has earned herself a first-round clash with Irina-Camelia Begu.

Zeynep Sonmez (TUR)

As Zeynep Sonmez pulled away from Jana Fett to win their final qualifying round match 7-6(5), 6-3, the 22-year-old wasn’t just heading to a personal milestone. Victory meant that she will become the first Turkish woman to compete in a Grand Slam main draw since Ipek Soylu at the 2017 US Open, and just the third in total (also including former No.60 Cagla Buyukakcay).

A breakthrough 2023 season saw Sonmez compile a 54-28 record and rocket from No.345 to No.159. She qualified for her first WTA main draw on the grass of ‘s-Hertogenbosch in June, where she pushed Bianca Andreescu to two tight sets; in September, she reached her first WTA 125 final in Ljubljana after upsetting home hope Tamara Zidansek in the semifinals.

Highlights: Andreescu d. Sonmez, 2023 ‘s-Hertogenbosch R1

This year, Sonmez has continued to prove she can mix it with the best. In Billie Jean King Cup Group I action in April, she pushed Jelena Ostapenko all the way in a 2-6, 7-5, 6-3 loss, her first ever meeting with a Top 10 player. She also notched her first Top 50 win over Lucia Bronzetti at the Parma WTA 125 two weeks ago en route to the quarterfinals, and is now ranked No.157, just nine spots off her career high of No.146.

In the first round, Sonmez will face No.22 seed Emma Navarro.

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