The Latest: Stephens into first French Open quarterfinal

The Latest on the French Open (all times local):


4:35 p.m.

American Sloane Stephens is into her first quarterfinal at the French Open, having stalled in the fourth round on four previous occasions.

Stephens, the U.S. Open champion in 2017, blew past Anett Kontaveit of Estonia 6-2, 6-0 in just 52 minutes on Court Philippe Chatrier.

The 25th-seeded Kontaveit was unable to exert any pressure on the 10th-seeded Stephens with her error-strewn game.

Stephens faced no break points.

Kontaveit made 21 unforced errors and hit just six clean winners.


3:20 p.m.

Dominic Thiem is into the French Open quarterfinals for the third straight year, in what was becoming a steam-rollering of Kei Nishikori until the 19th-seeded player from Japan mounted a late fight-back.

“The first two sets were amazing,” the seventh-seeded Austrian said of the 6-2, 6-0, 5-7, 6-4 win, “… then he raised his level.”

Nishikori won just 14 points in the first set and even fewer, nine, in the second, as his serve and service returns ran cold on the sun-kissed Court Philippe Chatrier.

Play stayed on serve in the third set until Nishikori won the only break point, on Thiem’s serve in the 12th game.

Thiem bit his fingers after squandering his first match point. But Nishikhori made life easy for him, with an over-cooked forehand hit long on Thiem’s second match point.

Thiem made the semifinals last year and in 2016. He’ll play the second-seeded Alexander Zverev next.


3 p.m.

Alexander Zverev is into his first Grand Slam quarterfinal, and he’s done it the hard way, winning his third back-to-back five-set match at the French Open.

The second-seeded German won 4-6, 7-6 (4), 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 against Karen Khachanov, a 38th-ranked Russian, in their first-ever meeting on clay or at a major.

Zverev’s previous Grand Slam best was reaching the fourth round at Wimbledon last year.

At 21, Zverev is the youngest quarterfinalist at Roland Garros since Juan Martin del Potro in 2009.

Zverev’s youth and fitness regime — he says he spends three to four hours in the gym each day — have helped him overcome the fatigue of three-hour plus matches on the leg-pounding clay of Roland Garros.

He shrugged off a question about spending so much time on court, saying: “I’m young so I may as well stay on court to practice a little bit.”


1:15 p.m.

Madison Keys is thinking big at the French Open after reaching the quarterfinals for the first time.

Her feat means the 13th-seeded American has now reached the last eight at every major.

“I made the final of the U.S. Open but lost to my friend Sloane Stephens,” the 23-year-old Keys said. “Hopefully big things can happen here.”

After beating No. 31 Mihaela Buzarnescu of Romania 6-1, 6-4, she next faces either No. 26 Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic or Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan.

They were playing their match later Sunday on Court Suzanne Lenglen.


12:25 p.m.

U.S. Open runner-up Madison Keys has reached the quarterfinals of the French Open for the first time by beating Mihaela Buzarnescu of Romania 6-1, 6-4.

On a sunny Court Philippe Chatrier, the 13th-seeded American had two match points at 5-2 and 40-15. But Buzarnescu fought back to break Keys and then clenched her fist after holding for 5-4.

Serving a second time for the match, the 23-year-old Keys let out a scream of “Come on!” when she hit a superb cross-court backhand winner to make it 40-15 and give herself another two chances for victory.

Seconds later, she threw her head back after serving a booming ace that flew past Buzarnescu before she could react.

Keys next faces either No. 26 Barbora Strycova or Yulia Putintseva.

It was a good tournament for the 30-year-old Buzarnescu — seeded 31st — a former Ph.D. student who has climbed more than 300 ranking spots in the last year.


10:30 a.m.

Novak Djokovic takes on a familiar adversary in the fourth round of the French Open on Sunday.

The former top-ranked Serb faces Fernando Verdasco on Court Philippe Chatrier, where he won the last of his 12 major titles in 2016.

Djokovic, now seeded 20th as he continues his comeback from a long-term elbow injury, has won the past five encounters against the Spanish veteran.

Two other title contenders are in men’s fourth-round action.

Looking to reach his first Grand Slam quarterfinal is No. 2 Alexander Zverev of Germany, who plays big-hitting Russian Karen Khachanov on Court Suzanne Lenglen.

No. 7 Dominic Thiem of Austria — a semifinalist at Roland Garros the past two years — faces No. 19 Kei Nishikori of Japan. They are scheduled first on Chatrier in warm and sunny conditions.

Later on Lenglen, Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki had a tough-looking fourth-round match against Daria Kasatkina.

The 14th-seeded Russian has beaten her twice this year.


More AP tennis coverage:

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.