After 16 years, Juan Pablo Varillas is the first Peruvian tennis player to claim a significant victory at the US Open

Peruvian tennis player Juan Pablo Varillas marks historic US Open win, advancing in rankings and celebrating national pride.
  1. Juan Pablo Varillas achieved a significant victory at the US Open, signaling a resurgence for Peruvian tennis on the global stage.
  2. Despite challenges, Varillas’ determination and physical prowess stand out, earning him respect and propelling him up the ATP rankings.
  3. As Varillas advances, he not only represents his personal journey but also reignites the passion of Peruvian tennis enthusiasts worldwide.

Stretching every serve until the last second, running down every ball, and always celebrating with an open fist. That’s the hallmark of Juan Pablo Varillas in victory mode. The Peruvian tennis player rebounded not only from recent disappointments, having not secured back-to-back wins in ATP tournaments, but also from a challenging first set to claim victory over Miomir Kecmanovic in his US Open debut. This marks his first-ever win in this American Grand Slam.

A Comeback to Remember

Varillas’ strength lies in his relentless spirit, fighting for every point, backed by his outstanding physical condition. Despite a challenging 1-6 loss in the first set and squandering four set points in the second, he persevered and came out on top. After three hours and thirteen minutes, Varillas triumphed with a scoreline of 1-6, 7-5, 7-5, and 6-4, marking his second-round advancement in a Grand Slam following the Roland Garros in June.

“I stayed aggressive the entire time to impose my game. I pushed him physically, and I was still going strong by the third set,” Varillas shared with ESPN.

Rising Through the Ranks

With this win, Varillas earns a crucial 45 ATP points, propelling him to the 64th spot in the rankings and a hefty prize of $123,000 for those advancing to the second phase. It’s a moment of celebration for Peruvian tennis, marking their return to the US Open limelight after 16 years, since 2007. Furthermore, not since 2008 with Lucho Horna has a Peruvian competed in all four Grand Slam events in a year. Varillas achieved this feat in 2023, only requiring qualification in the Australian Open, while the others were direct entries based on his ranking.

Though hard court isn’t Varillas’ specialty, he’s dedicated to mastering it. Hence, he resides in Argentina, ensuring ample preparation time before every tournament. Following the European tour, he traveled to Buenos Aires to train on concrete. Although he faced a setback in Winston-Salem the previous week, at the US Open, Varillas showcased his powerful right-hand, delivering 55 winning shots compared to the Serbian’s 33 and netting 15 aces.

“Cool-headed during challenging points and possessing superior physical fitness to secure his first victory,” Pablo Arraya commented from the US Open, highlighting Varillas’ preparedness for long matches. This was evident during the recent Roland Garros, where he twice came back from being two sets down, and against Hurkacz, where he overcame a first-set loss to win in five.

A Taste of Home in New York

However, Varillas wasn’t alone in his journey. A supportive group of Peruvians, donning white and red attire or red shirts with the national emblem, flocked to court 10 at the Flushing Meadows complex. “I felt right at home in New York,” the national tennis star expressed gratefully.

But the next challenge awaits. Varillas will likely feel the pressure of being the underdog as he faces against American Taylor Fritz, the world number 9 in the ATP rankings. The anticipated match might be held on the main court, Arthur Ashe, reminiscent of his previous appearance on Philippe Chatrier at Roland Garros.