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Nicolas Jarry is the first Chilean ATP World Tour finalist since Fernando Gonzalez at 2009 Vina del Mar.

Jarry: 'It's Been A Heck Of A Ride'

Chilean plays in his maiden ATP World Tour final in Sao Paulo against Fognini

Chilean Nicolas Jarry had four match points on Horacio Zeballos’ serve as the Argentine attempted to stay in their Brasil Open semi-final at 3-5 in the third set. For Jarry, a 22-year-old searching for his first ATP World Tour final, the missed opportunity could have sent countless thoughts racing through his mind during the changeover. The grandson of former World No. 14 Jaime Fillol had his country’s expectations on his shoulders as he attempted to become the first Chilean to reach a final in nearly a decade (Fernando Gonzalez, 2009 Vina del Mar).

So what was he thinking during the sit-down?

“Nothing. Just breathe. I played them all well,” Jarry told ATPWorldTour.com. “I stayed calm and just tried to serve well.”

The Chilean certainly did that, hitting one of his 20 aces to clinch his first final one week after reaching his maiden tour-level semi-final at the Rio Open presented by Claro. Oh, by the way, Jarry had never made a quarter-final prior to the Ecuador Open in February.

In fact, Jarry was just 5-10 in tour-level matches before this season. Yet, he now owns 12 victories this year alone, and looks primed for plenty more. Jarry will contest his maiden final against second seed Fabio Fognini, who has not lost a set all week.

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But it was not so long ago that Jarry was far from the stardom that he is creating for himself. As recently as June 2016, the Chilean was down to No. 619 in the ATP Rankings. He says that it was tough to recover from a broken wrist, but that didn’t get him down on himself or stop him from thinking he could move up the ATP Rankings.

“Just have fun and train hard… that’s all I have done since that moment,” said Jarry, who added that winning three ATP Challenger Tour titles last season sent him in the right direction. . “Last year was a great year. My confidence has grown a lot, and it’s helped me believe more.”

That belief has shined through this week in Sao Paulo, as each of Jarry’s four matches have gone to three sets, with his past three victories coming in come-from-behind fashion. For the second week in a row, he defeated Top 25 player Albert Ramos-Vinolas, and four of his victories over the past two weeks are his best wins by ranking for his entire career.

Jarry, armed with a massive forehand and a missile-like serve, is not changing his mentality, though.

“It’s always been the same. First [ATP] Challenger [Tour] final, first Futures final. Now it’s my first ATP World Tour Final, but it’s the same,” Jarry said. “I just try to enjoy the experience, give it everything and I wish that I win. But if I don’t, I’ll still be happy with the week and the matches that I’ve done. I have to keep on going for the rest of the year and the rest of my life.”

And that philosophical approach fits Jarry, who says that if he wants fans around the world to know one thing about him, it’s that he wants to set a good example. He plans to work hard every day to continue to improve so that this magical run does not stop after tomorrow’s final against Fognini. But even so, Jarry summed the journey up succinctly.

“It’s been a heck of a ride.”

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