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Wozniacki, Svitolina into French Open quarterfinal

  • ontennis
  • 04 June 2017
  • 07:06

Caroline Wozniacki moved a step closer to erasing an unwanted footnote from the list of her tennis achievements with victory over Svetlana Kuznetsova in the French Open fourth round on Sunday.

Wozniacki is that rare beast: a twice year-end world No 1-ranked tennis player who has never won a grand slam.

There have been others but none who reigned so long at world No 1 – 67 weeks – without success on the grand slam stage.

On Sunday the Dane beat Kuznetsova, a player with two grand slam titles in the bag but who has never scaled the women's rankings to the very top.

The 6-1 4-6 6-2 victory eased Wozniacki into the quarterfinals at Roland Garros, matching her best performance here in 2010.

"Obviously it's just kind of clicking this week," Wozniacki smiled as she spoke to reporters. "Hopefully I can keep going this way. Now I just try and stay focused and keep my head down."

Wozniacki streaked into the lead on a sun-baked Philippe Chatrier court, running away with the first set as 2009 champion Kuznetsova struggled with her range.

Eighth seed Kuznetsova soon struck back to level matters, using her weight of shot to overpower the Dane.

Kuznetsova was always likely to hit the big winners but they were too few, and errors more plentiful, as Wozniacki grabbed two early breaks in the decider.

The 11th seed, her luminous green racquet a rapier to Kuznetsova's broadsword, eased into a 3-0 lead but after a few meaty swings Kuznetsova broke back.

It was only a temporary reprieve for the Russian, though, and Wozniacki reasserted her control, pummelling a two-fisted backhand down the line to win the match, before firing a ball into the upper tier of the stands.

"Yeah, it was definitely a good win," she said. "Svetlana obviously plays really well on this surface. I knew it was going to be a tough match going in.

"I started off really, really well. My game plan was working and kind of kept her on her toes with putting in some dropshots and mixing up the pace.

"I knew it wasn't going to be easy. I knew that she was going to try to fight her way back. She did in the second set, but I managed to close it off in three, which I'm happy about."

Wozniacki next faces either 2010 runner-up Sam Stosur or Jelena Ostapenko for a spot in the semifinals.

"Definitely two tough opponents, two very different opponents. Sam loves the clay. She's had great results here in the past.

"Either one is going to be tough. Ostapenko goes for her shots and plays flat. When she's on fire, she's tough."

Tough or not, the dazzlingly white smile is back on Wozniacki's face, and without the pregnant Serena Williams and the missing Maria Sharapova in the draw, she might just be ready to erase that asterisk next to her name.

SVITOLINA REACHES FOURTH ROUND

Fifth seed Elina Svitolina huffed and puffed into the fourth round of the French Open with an error-ridden 6-4 7-5 victory over Poland's Magda Linette in a rain-delayed match on Sunday.

Svitolina, one of the pre-tournament favourites after winning titles at the Rome and Istanbul claycourt tournaments, made 25 unforced errors and served five double faults before overpowering the world number 94.

The 22-year-old Ukrainian, who lives and trains in Paris, put on an untidy display but played perfectly on the key points, holding serve throughout.

"Roland Garros has always been special for me," Svitolina, who could not play on Saturday because of rain, said courtside.

"I'm very happy that I could win three matches here and hopefully I will keep it going. I was trained to stay focused and I'm happy I could finish it early."

Next up for Svitolina is Croatian qualifier Petra Martic, who beat Latvian 17th seed Anastasija Sevastova 6-1 6-1.

OSTAPENKO IN FRENCH OPEN QUARTERS

Latvian teenager Jelena Ostapenko reached her first Grand Slam quarterfinal on Sunday with a 2-6, 6-2, 6-4 win over 2010 runner-up Samantha Stosur.

Ostapenko, 19, who uses ballroom dancing as part of her training regime, hit 46 winners past the 23rd-seeded Australian, a semifinalist last year.

Ostapenko will take on 11th seed Caroline Wozniacki for a place in the semifinals.

She has beaten Wozniacki, who also made the last eight in 2010, on all three occasions they have met.

Two of those came on clay this year, in Charleston and Prague.

"If I play my game, I'm an aggressive player and if I have my day, anything can happen," said Ostapenko.

Stosur, meanwhile, said her challenge was undermined by a right hand injury which meant she was unable to practise before the tie.

"My hand's been sore for about three or four days since the day I played doubles here. Don't know what's wrong with it," said the 33-year-old.

"But from 5-1 in the first set, it was just really, really painful and just wasn't going away."

Ostapenko will take on 11th seed Caroline Wozniacki for a place in the semifinals.

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