Just over three years ago, Kiki Bertens was the top seed in Nuremberg qualifying. Ranked No. 89, she had one WTA title to her name, won way back in April 2012.

That soon changed–along with her future foothold on the tour–when Bertens stepped on the red clay in Bavaria. Bertens successfully qualified and after defeating the likes of Roberta Vinci and Julia Goerges, went all the way in both singles and doubles (the latter with Johanna Larsson).

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Flashback: the rise of Kiki Bertens began three years ago in Nuremberg

Flashback: the rise of Kiki Bertens began three years ago in Nuremberg

The Dutchwoman made a quick turnaround look effortless at Roland Garros: in her first-round match, Bertens ousted reigning Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber in three sets for her first Top 5 victory. With seven singles and three doubles matches played over 11 days, Bertens could have easily been forgiven for dropping a level or two. Instead, she grew stronger and more resilient.

After dismissing Camila Giorgi, Bertens squared off against rising teen Daria Kasatkina in one of the year’s most riveting clashes. The opportunity was two-fold for Bertens: reach the second week of a Grand Slam tournament for the second time and, qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics by meeting her National Olympic Committee’s specific entry criteria.

With extra motivation driving her, Bertens outlasted Kasatkina, 6-3, 2-6, 10-8, to clinch her spot on the Dutch Olympic team, an achievement that left the 24-year-old in tears afterwards. Bertens contained her emotions to add impressive wins over Top 20 players Madison Keys and Timea Bacsinszky in progressing to the semifinals.

From a secluded court in Nuremberg to Court Philippe-Chatrier, Bertens played with the same conviction and fortitude—holding two set points against Serena Williams before the defending champion edged ahead for a 7-6 (7), 6-4 victory. It was a form of revenge for Williams, who alongside sister Venus, was eliminated by Bertens and Larsson in the third round of the women’s doubles event.

Flashback: the rise of Kiki Bertens began three years ago in Nuremberg

Flashback: the rise of Kiki Bertens began three years ago in Nuremberg

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Those three weeks officially put Bertens on the map. Her accomplishments since reemerging in Nuremberg speak for themselves, but here’s a brief look at some of her turnarounds.

Pre-Nuremberg 2016:

  • 1 WTA singles title (1-0 in finals)
  • Career-high singles ranking of No. 41 (April 2013)
  • 0 Top 10 wins
  • 7-15 record in Grand Slam events
  • 2 WTA doubles titles (2-2 in finals)

Nuremberg 2016-Present:

  • 8 WTA singles titles (8-2 in finals)
  • Career-high singles ranking of No. 4 (May 2019)
  • 20 Top 10 wins
  • 19-12 record in Grand Slam events
  • 8 WTA doubles titles (8-3 in finals)
  • Qualified for the 2018 WTA Finals (reached the semifinals)
  • Qualified for the 2017 WTA Finals in doubles (reached the final with Larsson)

With the past three French Open women’s champions representing first-time major winners, Bertens is a frontrunner to extend the streak in Paris. Thanks to her latest title in Madrid—to go with semifinal showings in Stuttgart and Madrid—Bertens will have plenty of recent experiences to draw from. Handling the pressure of entering a major as one of the clear favorites is a new challenge, one Bertens should be primed to handle.

Flashback: the rise of Kiki Bertens began three years ago in Nuremberg

Flashback: the rise of Kiki Bertens began three years ago in Nuremberg