Sloane Stephens thrashes Kontaveit to reach last eight
PARIS: American Sloane Stephens broke new ground at the French Open with a 6-2 6-0 thrashing of below-par Estonian Anett Kontaveit in the last 16 on Sunday.
Five times the U.S. Open champion had fallen at the fourth-round hurdle in Paris but that never looked like being her fate as she produced a rock-solid display on Court Philippe Chatrier.
The initial exchanges offered no clue as to what was to follow as the first four games were shared but when Kontaveit double-faulted to drop serve Stephens took control.
Kontaveit could not stem the errors and Stephens, who survived a thriller against Camila Giorgi the previous day, cruised to victory in 52 minutes.
American 13th seed Madison Keys also reached her first Roland Garros quarter-final with a 6-1, 6-4 win over Romania's Mihaela Buzarnescu.
Keys, the US Open runner-up to Stephens last year, will face Kazakhstan's Yulia Putintseva for a place in the semi-finals, after the world number 98 saw off Barbora Strycova 6-4, 6-3.
"First week, my goal is to get to the second week," said 23-year-old Keys.
"Then once you get to the second week, every match obviously has more nerves, and there's more on the line." On Monday, all eyes will be on the showdown between Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova, with the latter trying to end an 18-match losing streak to her bitter rival.
Three-time champion Williams is playing her first Grand Slam tournament since taking time off last year due to pregnancy, while Sharapova is at Roland Garros for the first time in three years after serving a doping ban in 2016 and being refused a wildcard 12 months ago.