Varvara Gracheva's Triumphant Roland Garros Journey: A New French Heroine Emerges

In her first Roland Garros as a French citizen, Russian-born Varvara Gracheva triumphed over Irina-Camelia Begu. Celebrating with a spirited rendition of 'La Marseillaise,' Gracheva expressed joy at her acceptance as French. Despite a challenging start to the year, she now advances to her first Grand Slam fourth round.

Reuters | Paris | Updated: 01-06-2024 20:02 IST | Created: 01-06-2024 19:40 IST
Varvara Gracheva's Triumphant Roland Garros Journey: A New French Heroine Emerges
Roland Garros logo Image Credit: ANI
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French fans gave a loud rendition of the national anthem "La Marseillaise" for Varvara Gracheva after the Russian-born player beat Romania's Irina-Camelia Begu on Saturday in her first Roland Garros as a local since switching nationality last year. Gracheva closed out a hard-fought 7-5 6-3 victory and joined in the singing as she celebrated being the last Frenchwoman left in the women's draw.

"I will remember this moment until the end of my life," said Gracheva, who received her French passport in 2023 after living in the country for more than five years. "It means that everyone accepts me, that I'm home here." Ranked 39 at the start of the year, her best career ranking, Gracheva fell to 100th place in April after six consecutive tournaments where she was eliminated in the first round.

"At the start of the year I was in some despair, I was very frustrated," she said. "If someone had told me that I would be playing on the Suzanne Lenglen I wouldn't have believed it," she said with a big smile. Gracheva, ranked 88 and who has never won a tournament, beat sixth-ranked Maria Sakkari in the first round.

She will face 38th-ranked Russian Mirra Andreeva or 62nd-ranked American Peyton Stearns in what will be her first fourth round of a Grand Slam tournament. "I'm just happy to be here, if I can go even further, that's a bonus. I'm proud," she said.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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