I learned a few days ago that Pilar Barril died on the 30th of September at the age of 79
For those of you who aren't familiar with the name, she was the first Spanish lady to reach the quarterfinals of the French Open since Lilí de Álvarez. She was also a semifinalist in the 1956 mixed doubles competition.
She's tied with Carmen Coronado for the record of most Spanish Singles Championships won, with nine.
It doesn't seem very important, but one could say she was a pioneer, appearing regularly at the French Open during the 50es and the 60es in a time where female tennis wasn't very popular in Spain. No other Spanish player would reach a GS quarterfinal until Arantxa Sánchez Vicario in 1987.
Pilar played competitive tennis until the age of 42 (she won the Catalonian Championships that year). After that she played recreationally until two years ago.
A Marca sports diary journalist dedicated an entry to her on his personal blog.
Here is a brief piece written by Rollo on his French Open complete results thread. It's from his 1961 compilation, the year Barril got to the quarters:
"The surpise of the week was pretty Pilar Barril, who produced upsets to go all the way to the quarters. Her prime victim was top tenner and Aussie finalist Jan Lehane. Pilar and her fans were making the signs of the cross throughout her hard fought win!"