Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Stosur reaches French Open quarters

Updated June 04, 2012 09:37:05

Australia's US Open champion Samantha Stosur has progressed to the quarter-finals of the French Open with a 7-5, 6-4 victory over American teenager Sloane Stephens in Paris.

Stosur took a little longer than anticipated to reach the final eight, with the match moved to Court One as two men's fourth-round ties ran longer than anticipated on Centre Court.

Stosur served for victory at 5-3 but produced a double-fault to give away three break points, perhaps disturbed by having to replay one point after a pigeon swooped along the top of the net during play.

Stephens, 19, broke the sixth seed, but Stosur broke straight back to love and will now play Slovakian Dominika Cibulkova, who pulled off a major upset when she knocked out world number one Victoria Azarenka.

The 15th seed won 6-2, 7-6 (7-4) against the Australian Open champion, who had been expected to coast past Cibulkova, having beaten her seven times out of eight previously.

But the little Slovakian, who reached the semi-finals in 2009, handled the cold, windy conditions on the Suzanne Lenglen court far better than the tall Belarusian.

After losing the first set, Azarenka appeared to be getting back on track as she broke to lead 2-0 in the second, but 23-year-old Cibulkova dug deep to run off four games in a row.

Azarenka levelled at 4-4, with the set then going to a tie-break which a pumped-up Cibulkova led from the start to pull off a stunning win.

"I am getting more mature and more tough mentally," said Cibulkova, explaining that she had learned from the experience of losing to Azarenka in Miami earlier this year when leading a set and 5-2.

"I managed to go through these emotions. She was 6-5 up, and I said, 'hey, come on, you have to play your game again and just make it'.

"And for the tiebreak I'm very, very proud of myself that I was still going for my shots, and I just made it because she would never give me the match.

Azarenka said: "It wasn't satisfying at all, not satisfying being out there playing like that. I do not know what to find positive in that. No excuses, just a bad performance."

Sara Errani of Italy and Angelique Kerber of Germany both reached the quarter-finals at Roland Garros for the first time with straight-sets wins.

Errani, seeded 21, defeated Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia 6-0, 7-5, while 10th seed Kerber ousted Petra Martic of Croatia 6-3, 7-5.

The pair will meet in the last eight in a top half of the draw which had also contained Azarenka.

Errani has been the form player on clay this year, winning tournaments in Acapulco, Barcelona and Budapest.

She also reached the Australian Open quarter-finals in January on hardcourts.

The win over 2009 French Open champion Kuznetsova followed her three-sets win over 2008 winner and 13th seed Ana Ivanovic in the previous round.


Tags: tennis, sport, france

First posted June 04, 2012 06:42:05

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