Nadia Podoroska is in many ways flying the flag for her country. With most of Argentina's success coming on the men's side, the women have had fleeting results over the years, but the 23-year old is looking to change that.
Having the best week of her career, Podoroska is set to face another major surprise in her fourth round match at the French Open when she squares off with Barbora Krejcikova. As the world number 131 tries to continue her magical week, she discussed what got her to this point.
Podoroska talks about her rise in the rankings, improvements to her game, source of inspiration
The rise in the rankings has come quickly for the Rosario native as she was barely in the top 300 just two years ago and is now projected to crack into the top 100 following her run in Paris.
Her momentum began last summer when she claimed the gold medal at the Pan Am Games which also all but assured her of a spot in next summer's rescheduled Olympics in Tokyo.
A 35-6 record that's largely been built on the back of success on the ITF Tour with two titles, Podoroska is living her dream and she hopes she can take it a couple of steps further.
"It's like a dream come true", she said following her third round victory over Anna Schmiedlova. "It's been an amazimg tournament for me. I didn't expect this result, so i'm very happy. It's nice to be here in the big tournaments.
"It's what we always want, where we always want to be. It's been a psecial week but I am playing tennis, so it's same here or in another tournament. During the last few months, I felt more sure about my game.
"During the quarantine, I improved a lot. I spent time with my coaches training for three months, and I knew that I have been improving my game. Fortunately, I did that on the tournaments, so I think it's a process."
The last Argentine woman to reach the second week in Paris was Gisela Dulko in 2011 and in Krejcikova, she faces someone who is ranked 117th, an opportunity to reach a major quarterfinal that neither player thought they may have.
"When I was in US Open in 2016, I think I was very young. I didn't know what I could do. Now i'm older and i'm with more confidence. I think I have a lot of confidence now, but the better thing i'm doing is trusting in my game, in all that I have been training.
"I'm very -- not relaxed, but calm, calm on court. That's the best thing i'm doing, I think."
Qualifiers don't usually have the opportunity to play deep into the second week of majors, but that's exactly the chance that awaits the Argentine as she attempts to become the tenth qualifier to reach the Roland Garros quarterfinals.
Another source of motivation is Gabriela Sabatini, the only female Argentine player to win a Grand Slam in singles and with two more victories, Podoroska can match her country's greatest WTA player and her idol growing up as a child.
"I started to play tennis when I was five years old, but it just because I want to play tennis. No one in my family played. When I was a child, I saw the legends in Argentina. We have too many players when I was growing up and we always have Gabriela Sabatini.
"She was like a hero for me and for all female tennis. She's always in contact with all of the female players in Argentina, even with the Fed Cup team, but she's always giving her support."
Having lost the fewest games of any player in qualifying, the 23-year old's form has carried over to the main draw where she's dropped one set on her way to the Round of 16.
"I knew that I was playing really good, but for sure, this experience all new for me. You never know how you are going to react. But i'm happy with what i'm doing."