French Open: Maria first Greek woman to enter Grand Slam Q-F (Ld)

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Paris, June 7 World No.18 Greek Maria Sakkari on Monday gave her tennis career a huge boost as she secured a spot in her first Grand Slam quarterfinals defeating last year’s runners-up and world No.5 Sofia Kenin 6-1, 6-3 at the French Open.

Maria needed just an hour and eight minutes to oust Sofia and become the first Greek woman to reach a Grand Slam singles quarter-final.

She will meet the winner of the clash between defending champion Iga Swiatek of Poland and Ukrainian teenager Marta Kostyuk.

American teenager Coco Gauff played an inspired game as she breezed past Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur 6-3, 6-1 to reach her maiden Grand Slam quarterfinals.

No.24 seed Coco, at 17 years and 86 days old, is the youngest player to make a major quarterfinal since the Czech Republic’s Nicole Vaidisova, who made it to the last eight at the French Open in 2006.

Coco will next face fellow first-time Grand Slam quarterfinalist Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic. Barbora also made a swift entry into the last-eight stage on Monday, inflicting a crushing 6-2, 6-0 defeat on former finalist, Sloane Stephens of the USA in under an hour.

Coco is also the youngest American to reach the quarterfinals of any Grand Slam since Venus Williams entered the US Open final in 1997.

Coco, who also became the youngest American to come this far at the Roland Garros since Jennifer Capriati reached the quarterfinals here in 1993, was calm and composed during her 53-minute contest against the 25th-seeded Ons.

The American dominated from the start, firing 15 winners to just nine unforced errors. Coco also won 81 per cent of her first-serve points, while claiming two-thirds of the points returning Ons’s second serve.

Earlier, Barbora underlined her status as a contender for the title by decimating Sloane Stephens in just 67 minutes to reach her first Grand Slam singles quarterfinals.

She said that playing a series of exhibition games in the Czech Republic during the pandemic lockdown had helped boost her confidence.



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