Before unseeded American Sloane Stephens took the court to face second seed Aryna Sabalenka, the French Open promoted the match as David goes against Goliath. But Sabalenka and Stephens are both Grand Slam champions, and it came out on Sunday.
The Belarusian star advanced to the quarter-finals of Roland Garros for the first time in a hard-fought victory, 7-6(5), 6-4. Stephens’ experience showed in the 2018 final when she came back from 0-5 down in the first set, forcing it into a tie-break.
Stephens, the 2017 US Open champion, also came back from 4-2 to 4-4 in the second before Sabalenka broke to go up 5-4 and serve in the match.
Sabalenka now leads the Tour with 33 wins. The 2023 Australian Open champion will play against Ukrainian Elina Svitolina in the quarterfinals.
The doubles team is disqualified
The No. 16 seed Mio Kato of Japan and Della Sutjiadi of Indonesia were disqualified from the Roland Garros tournament on Sunday when Kato hit a girl with a ball during their third-round match.
Kato and Sotjiadi lost the opening set to Marie Bouzkova and Sara Sorribes-Tormo, but were leading 3-1 in the second when Kato let go of an accidental ball in tears.
Umpire Alexandre Juge initially gave Cato a warning, but opponents on the other end of the court asked for the pair to be disqualified.
Novak Djokovic breaks a tie with Rafael Nadal
On the opening day of Roland Garros, Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic told reporters that a strange year without Rafael Nadal represented a new title opportunity. A week later, Djokovic secured his place in the quarter-finals of the French Open in record fashion.
After a 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 victory over Peruvian Juan Pablo Farias on Sunday, he reached the quarter-finals for the 14th year in a row, the longest scoring streak by a man in the history of the event. Roger Federer made the second most uninterrupted appearances, advancing to the quarter-finals of the French Open for nine consecutive years before retiring.
While Djokovic added that he doesn’t miss Nadal for his track record against him, he now holds the record for most French Open singles quarter-final appearances by a man at 17.
“Well, I’m proud of that, but my interest is already there in the next match,” Djokovic said after Sunday’s victory. The 22-time Grand Slam champion will play Russia’s No. 11 Karen Khachanov.
Djokovic probably has a different idea in mind. He and Nadal currently own 22 Grand Slam singles titles. Djokovic has two French Open titles in 2016 and 2021. With this year’s victory, he will be the first man to claim at least three major titles at the tournament.
He defeated unranked Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. No. 28 Elise Mertens 3-6, 7-6(3), 6-3.
Pavlyuchenkova missed last year’s tournament with a knee injury and has now defeated three seeded opponents in a row.
She defeated Elina Svitolina of Ukraine. No. 9 Daria Kasatkina 6-4, 7-6(5).
He defeated top seed Carlos Alcaraz of Spain, who is expected to be Djokovic’s biggest competition for the La Coupe des Mousquetaires championship. Italy’s Lorenzo Musetti 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.
He defeated Greek No. 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas. Austrian Sebastian Offner qualified 7-5, 6-3, 6-0.
Karolina Muchova defeated. Elena Avanesian 6-4, 6-4.
What to watch on the ninth day
No. 6 Coco Gauff of America vs. Anna Karolina Schmiedlova
World No. 1 Iga Swiatek vs. Lesia Tsurenko
No. 7 Unse Jaber opposite Bernarda Pera
No. 14 Beatrice Haddad Maya vs Sara Sorribes Tormo
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