Sabalenka eases through as Di Minaur stuns Medvedev – Sport

PARIS: World number two Aryna Sabalenka pummelled American Emma Navarro 6-2, 6-3 in just over an hour on Monday to march into the French Open quarter-finals with an emphatic performance that kept her on course for her first title in Paris.

The Belarusian 26-year-old, a semi-finalist at Roland Garros last year, never faced a break point in the 69-minute fourth-round match and finished with 36 winners and 12 unforced errors.

Sabalenka avenged a loss against Navarro earlier this year at Indian Wells and reached her ninth career Grand Slam quarterfinal. The two-time Australian Open champion is attempting to become the first woman to win the season’s first two majors since Serena Williams in 2015.

“It sounds crazy to me, to be honest, and I’m super happy that I was able to bring this consistency on the Grand Slams,” she said. “It’s motivating me a lot to keep pushing myself a lot and to see where is the limit.”

Sabalenka, who has lost only 17 games through her four matches, next faces 17-year-old Russian Mirra Andreeva.

Andreeva advanced with a 7-5, 6-2 win against Varvara Gracheva, the last remaining Frenchwoman in the field. Last season’s WTA Newcomer of the Year, Andreeva saved two set points in the opening set before rolling into her first Grand Slam quarter-final.

Sabalenka has won their first two meetings, beating Andreeva in straight sets on clay in Madrid in 2023 and 2024.

Fourth seed Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan advanced to the quarter-finals with a 6-4, 6-3 defeat of 15th seed Elina Svitolina of Ukraine.

EMMA Navarro of the US returns a shot against Belarus’ Aryna Sabalenka during their French Open fourth-round match on Monday.—Reuters

Rybakina converted five of seven break points and finished with more than twice as many winners as her opponent (26 to 12). She also won 12 out 18 points at the net.

Rybakina will be playing in her WTA Tour-leading ninth quarter-final of 2024. She faces 12th-seeded Jasmine Paolini of Italy, who reached the final eight in a Grand Slam for the first time by rallying for a 4-6, 6-0, 6-1 win against Russia’s Elina Avanesyan.

Paolini won 16 of the last 19 games after falling behind 4-0 to begin the match.

On the men’s side, Daniil Medvedev suffered a four-set loss to Australia’s Alex de Minaur in the fourth round as his disappointing record at Roland Garros continued.

The Russian fifth seed, a former US Open champion and six-time Grand Slam finalist, started strongly but slipped to a 4-6, 6-2, 6-1, 6-3 defeat.

De Minaur will face either Alexander Zverev or Holger Rune in his second Slam quarter-final and first since the 2020 US Open.

Medvedev’s best performance in the French Open remains a quarter-final run in 2021, while he has also lost in the first round in five of his eight appearances.

“Alex played better,” admitted Medvedev, who doubled-faulted on match point. “To be honest, I’m disappointed to lose, but I don’t have anything to tell myself in a tough way like I was not, good attitude today or I was not fighting till the end. I did all of this. He played better.”

In Sunday’s late action, Jannik Sinner took time to get his engine going before motoring into the quarter-finals.

Second seed Sinner kept his hopes of taking Novak Djokovic’s top ranking alive with a battling 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 win over local favourite Corentin Moutet in front of partisan fans on Court Philippe Chatrier.

Sinner next faces Bulgarian 10th seed Grigor Dimitrov, who defeated Hubert Hurkacz 7-6 (7/5), 6-4, 7-6 (7/3) to reach his first quarter-final at the French Open and complete his set of Grand Slam last eight appearances.

Ons Jabeur continued her quest to win an elusive maiden Grand Slam by taking out Danish player Clara Tauson 6-4, 6-4 before breaking into a song with her fans.

Published in Dawn, June 4th, 2024

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