In the first four clay-court tournaments of the 2019 ATP season—a stretch colloquially known as the “Golden Swing”—unpredictability reigned, with two of the events crowning champions that had never reached a tour final.

In fact, match wins at the main level were few and far between for Juan Ignacio Londero, who triumphed in Cordoba, Argentina, and Laslo Djere, the victor in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Fast-forward a few months later, and now the two are each getting ready to play the biggest matches of their lives at the French Open, with a strong chance to find themselves in the second week of a Grand Slam for the first time.

Making his debut in the main draw of a major, Londero—who’d never won a match on tour prior to his Cordoba run—upset the 15th seed, Nikoloz Basilashvili in the first round at Roland Garros. Then, he managed to hold off the home favorite Richard Gasquet in four sets in his next match. While the Frenchman is working his way back into form from an extended injury layoff, Londero’s win against a former member of the Top 10—who’s been a tour mainstay for years—is nonetheless impressive.

For Londero, he’ll get to put to use that experience of battling against a partisan crowd right away when he faces Corentin Moutet, the 20-year-old Frenchman who beat Guido Pella—one of the best players on clay this year—in the last round. By ranking alone, Londero is the favorite, but as the 26-year-old Argentine has known over his career, nothing in tennis is guaranteed.


Playing in his seventh career Grand Slam main draw, Djere, like Londero, has achieved a personal best showing at the major level. With a steadier climb up the standings than his Golden Swing counterpart, the Serb—one of four in the third round—came into the tournament as the 31st seed and has played through to his expected place in the draw. In the first round, he topped Albert Ramos-Vinolas, a former member of the Top 20, in straight sets, then beat Australian teenager Alexei Popyrin in the second.

Djere faces a difficult task in the third round when he takes on the seventh seed Kei Nishikori, who has reached the fourth round or better in Paris for four years running. This will be the first match between the two and Nishikori enters it as a heavy favorite, despite coming off a slugfest against former Roland Garros semifinalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the prior round. Will Djere’s fresher legs be enough to help carry him through?

For him and Londero—both of whom have outlasted the other Golden Swing winners Marco Cecchinato and Pella at Roland Garros—the first half of the year has already been memorable. Now, they’re both a match away from reaching a position that seemed so distant only a few months ago.

Londero, Djere keep 'Golden Swing' momentum going through Paris

Londero, Djere keep 'Golden Swing' momentum going through Paris