Daria Saville was on the receiving end of an in-form Maria Trevisan at this years French Open.
Saville fought back hard against the world number 51, but it wasn’t enough as she went down 3-6 4-6 and exited the third round.
The 28-year-old’s grand slam exit closes the curtain on a thrilling 2022 French Open campaign that saw her topple Valentini Grammatikopoulou 6-1 6-2 in the first round, before knocking out two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova 6-4 6-2 in the second.
Saville was the only Australian left in the grand slam, with her exit now seeing all 11 of the nation’s players sent packing from the tournament in the first week – the fourth time this has occurred in the past five years.
Though it’s a far cry from where the Australian tennis star was last year when Saville revealed that her chronic pain was caused by a Hugland’s Bump on her heel, along with Enthesopathy (damage to the connective tissues between the bone and tendons).
In the aftermath of her US Open campaign in 2019, Saville’s singles ranking took a significant decrease as she took time off from tournaments for the rest of the competition season. In November of that year, she was ranked 237.
As November 2020 rolled around, she sat at a ranking of 446. Whilst Saville played a handful of games in 2021, the decision to have surgery kept her out for the majority of the year.
Although, she ended the year with a slightly higher ranking of 419.
Though it seems that the 28-year-old has regained confidence following her unfortunate spate of injuries and the surgery, with a big resurgence this year.
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2022: Promising signs so far
A formerly ranked top 20 player, Saville has already clocked up big wins against some of the more prominent names in tennis. Along with Kvitova at the French Open, she also defeated Emma Raducanu in their three-hour and 36-minute battle with 5-7 7-6 4-3 at the Abierto Akron Zapopan tournament this year.
But it was during the Indian Wells Open where Saville really started to see a spring in her step.
Saville overpowered Chinese superstar Shuai Zhang 6-3 6-2. The winning performance came as a result of the Australian’s 83.3 percent break points being converted and 55.5 percent of total points being won.
Entering the second round, Saville marked her first top-ten win since 2018 after she defeated Ons Jabeur 7-5 6-7 6-4 in a game that lasted two hours and 39 minutes. She caused the demise of the Tunisian powerhouse. She also claimed the win in her battle as she went head to head against Belgian Elise Merten following her career highlight match against Jabeur. Merten was no match for Saville who pulled off the victory 6-3 4-6 6-3.
She capped off her Indian Wells Open campaign being forced to retire on the ninth day of the tournament when she went up against Greece’s Maria Sakkari.
Glimpse into the future of women’s tennis in Australia?
The retirement of the former world number one Ash Barty had left a void in women’s tennis in Australia. With Barty’s departure from the tennis world, Sam Stosur was recently quoted saying things were “not looking so great” she told 7News
“I think Ash covered up a few holes because now she’s gone, we only have Ajla [Tomljanovic] in the top 100 at the moment,” Stosur said.
“All of a sudden, things are not looking so great.”
Stosur, who had previously acted as a mentor for Saville, pointed out the 28-year-old as being someone who could fill the void left by Barty’s retirement. Stosur said she believed that Saville was likely to “get back up there soon” should she “stay fit.”
Saville has already proven that she is capable given that she reached her career-high ranking of 23 back in 2017. Following her performance at the French Open, she was close to joining Ajla Tomljanovic (#43) and breaking into the top 100. She managed to get up to 103 before finding herself at 127, which is where she currently sits on.
She is the fourth highest-ranked Australian women trailing right behind Maddison Inglis (#125).
Should she see more wins under her belt and a continuation of a rise in rankings, there is no doubt that Saville can go to even further heights and potentially, become one of the biggest names in tennis.
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