Mladenovic ends Muguruza’s reign
Mladenovic embraced the occasion and took full advantage of her opponent’s mishaps to keep her title dreams alive. It was a match that lacked quality at times, but the vocal home crowd on Suzanne-Lenglen Court did not seem to care.
Muguruza never really settled into the contest. Uncharacteristic errors plagued her game and she failed to capitalise on Mladenovic’s 16 double-faults. It’s been a year of disappointment for the Spaniard, and she will drop outside the Top 10 when the updated rankings are released.
A delighted Mladenovic said: “As you say, it’s a fourth round match against the defending champion. It’s a match that was eagerly awaited by everyone – myself included. I’ve always played in front of a full Suzanne-Lenglen Court but right now it’s packed to the rafters. I make mistakes. I made about 35 double-faults. You (the crowd) gave me the courage and strength to keep going in every point. It’s thanks to you that I’m through.”
Caroline Wozniacki is through to her first French Open quarter-final in seven years after a 6-1 4-6 6-2 win over Svetlana Kuznetsova. The Dane’s baseline consistency proved to be too much for the erratic Russian.
“It was definitely a difficult match,” remarked the former world No.1. “Obviously Svetlana is a great player and she loves playing on clay, so I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. I knew even after the first set, where I really played well, that Svetlana would eventually get into a rhythm, but I just kept my head cool and tried to stay aggressive.”
Wozniacki’s next opponent will be Jelena Ostapenko. The fiery Latvian stunned the on form Sam Stosur 2-6 6-2 6-4 to reach her first ever Grand Slam quarter-final.
There was joy for Timea Bacsinszky as she reached the quarter-finals for a third straight year. The Swiss, who thrives on the red dirt, defeated Venus Williams 5-7 6-2 6-1.
It was a superb display from the 27-year-old, and her world class backhand contributed to her success. “It’s pretty good work for a Sunday,” laughed Bacsinszky. “The first set I was well ahead and then I started making absolutely catastrophic decisions. I didn’t want to finish my Sunday like this, so I started to vary my shots and I kept up my courage.”
Bacsinszky’s win over Williams means that there will be a maiden Grand Slam winner crowned on Saturday.
There were also four third matches completed.
Elina Svitolina made it eight wins in succession as she defeated Magda Linette 6-4 7-5. It was a highly efficient display from the No.5 seed as she remained calm under pressure and resolute on serve.
“It was very tough in the second set,” admitted the Ukrainian. “I was just a couple of points away from a third set, so I was trying to stay really focused and finish it as early as possible. Roland Garros has always been very special for me and I’ve always been motivated to go as far as I can here.”
Svitolina’s next opponent will be Petra Martic. The Croatian defeated the No.17 seed, Anastasija Sevastova, for the loss of just two games.
Karolína Plískova is just three wins away from becoming the new world No.1 after reaching the last 16 in Paris for the first time. The Czech won 11 of the last 13 games to defeat Carina Witthoeft 7-5 6-1 and she will play Veronica Cepede Royg, who defeated Mariana Duque-Marino 3-6 7-6(2) 6-3.
“I am surprised that I’m in the fourth round here,” admitted Pliskova. “I’m also quite surprised that, at three straight Grand Slams, I passed the third round. But especially on clay, I’ve never passed the second round here, so it’s quite huge for me.
“I still don’t think I’m playing the best tennis. It’s good, but I can still improve. The second set I think was the best so far that I played in this tournament.”
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