Mon, Jun 01, 2015 - Page 19 News List

Ivanovic, Svitolina into Paris last eight

RAIN NO DAMPENER:While rain delayed much of the morning’s play, seventh seed Ana Ivanovic was not phased, advancing in a three-set win over Ekaterina Makarova

AFP and Reuters, PARIS

Serbia’s Ana Ivanovic returns to Russia’s Ekaterina Makarova during their fourth-round match at Roland Garros in Paris, France, yesterday.

Photo: AFP

Ana Ivanovic yesterday made the French Open quarter-finals for the first time since her 2008 title run, where she is to face Elina Svitolina, the first Ukrainian to make the last eight at the tournament.

Seventh-seeded Serb Ivanovic defeated Russian ninth seed Ekaterina Makarova, a semi-finalist at the Australian Open in January, 7-5, 3-6, 6-1 to book her eighth career Grand Slam quarter-final.

Watched again by German World Cup-winning football star Bastian Schweinsteiger, the 27-year-old Ivanovic shrugged off a two-and-a-half-hour rain stoppage to secure her third three-set win in four rounds in Paris.

The 20-year-old Svitolina beat fellow former Roland Garros junior champion Alize Cornet on a windy, chilly Court Philippe Chatrier 6-2, 7-6 (11/9).

Svitolina, seeded 19, is only the second Ukrainian woman to reach a Grand Slam quarter-final after Kateryna Bondarenko made the last eight at the 2009 US Open.

It was Svitolina’s first win over Cornet in three meetings and the result ended French hopes in the women’s singles for another year.

She displayed nerves of steel to achieve victory, failing to serve out the tie in the 10th game of the second set and then allowing five match points to slip through her fingers.

However, she secured victory on her sixth match point when Cornet went long with a backhand, her 42nd unforced error of the tie.

Later yesterday, defending champion Maria Sharapova, also the winner in 2012 and runner-up in 2013, was to face Czech 13th seed Lucie Safarova.

Sharapova, who has been battling a cold throughout the first week, had a 4-1 record over the 28-year-old left-handed Czech, whose only win came in the pair’s first meeting in Madrid five years ago.

The winner of that clash is to meet either 33-year-old Italian Flavia Pennetta, who has never played in the French Open quarter-finals, or Garbine Muguruza, the Spanish 21st seed.

Muguruza, the 2010 junior champion, had a breakthrough Roland Garros last year when she defeated Serena Williams on her way to the last eight.

On Saturday, Jack Sock flew the Stars and Stripes as the lone American male into the last 16 of the French Open after a convincing win against rising Croatian teenager Borna Coric.

The 22-year-old Nebraskan played brilliantly to win 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 and post his best Grand Slam performance.

Waiting in the next round is nine-time champion Rafael Nadal.

“He’s decent in this tournament,” Sock joked at his news conference. “Well, he’s lost one match here. That will be a fun one. I said a few days ago, I’m not really one to get a whole lot of nerves before big matches.”

“I more look forward to it and it should be hopefully an exciting match and hopefully I can play some good tennis and, you know, give him a good battle,” Sock said. “It’s definitely going to be an uphill battle, but it will definitely be a fun one.”

Big-serving Sock is a rare breed among American men, enjoying the challenges of red clay and his compatibility with the surface was again in evidence against 18-year-old Coric, who had beaten Spain’s Tommy Robredo in the previous round.

“I feel like it maximizes my game, more than other surfaces,” he said. “I’m able to set up and dictate with the forehand again. Serving definitely gets up. It definitely makes my shots a little more lethal.”

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