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French Open fairytales

Steven LynchMay 15, 2014
Gustavo Kuerten was unseeded when he won the French Open in 1997 © Getty Images
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Has an unseeded player ever won the French Open? asked Keith Henderson

The French Open has featured seeding ever since the tournament - then called the French Championship - started accepting entrants from overseas in 1925 (before that the only foreigners who played had to be affiliated to French clubs).

Since then only five people have won the singles at Roland Garros without being seeded, four of them men. The initial one was the Frenchman Marcel Bernard, the first postwar champion in 1946. He has been followed by Sweden's Mats Wilander (1982), Gustavo Kuerten of Brazil (1997) and the Argentine Gaston Gaudio (2004).

Gaudio survived two match points in the fifth set to beat his more-fancied compatriot Guillermo Coria in that final, in which he lost the first set 6-0 (unique for the winner of a Grand Slam singles final). It was easily the highlight of Gaudio's career: he only reached the fourth round in one other Grand Slam event (the French in 2002), and won just two matches in six attempts at Wimbledon.

Only one women has ever won the French Championships without being seeded - Britain's Peggy Scriven, who became the first left-handed woman to win a Grand Slam singles title in Paris in 1933. Scriven, by then seeded, retained the title in 1934. She also won the women's doubles at Roland Garros in 1935, with fellow Briton Kay Stammers.

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