Sports

Muguruza, Venus out; French Open to have 1st-time Slam champ

Muguruza, Venus out; French Open to have 1st-time Slam champ

The naysayers will say that it has been nine years since she last won it, which was also the most recent of her seven Grand Slam crowns. And there's a week left in the tournament to figure out which of the 12 women still around that will be.

In a remarkable comeback Venus and his American partner Ryan Harrison beat the Indian pair of Purav Raja and Divij Sharan 4-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 in their third round match at the French Open overnight.

Djokovic was scheduled last on Court Philippe Chatrier, against No. 19 Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain, while the fifth-seeded Muguruza faced No. 13 Kristina Mladenovic of France on Court Suzanne Lenglen after Nadal's match.

The only other two women with a Grand Slam trophy on their resumes who made it to the fourth round - Svetlana Kuznetsova and Samantha Stosur - lost earlier Sunday to women without one.

Kuznetsova will face either 11th-seeded Caroline Wozniacki or American CiCi Bellis in the fourth round. In addition, all eight women who play in the fourth round Monday are seeking a first major title, so it will be the first French Open since 1977 - and first major tournament anywhere since the 1979 Australian Open - without a past Slam champion among the quarterfinalists. How right those folks were.

The 22-year-old Tunisian had taken out No6 seed Dominika Cibulkova in the second round - her first top-10 win - and was looking to enter the second week of a major for the first time. And if I'm physically done, then mentally affected me a little bit. The 24-year-old Mladenovic reached the quarterfinals at Roland Garros for the first time.

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"It was very odd match, because she was playing good and I was playing OK, but I think today was enough", Svitolina said.

Muguruza, who was seeded No. 4 in Paris, beat Serena Williams in the French Open final previous year.

But the Spaniard has been repeatedly answering questions recently about whether expectations are different now that she is a major champion and whether that sort of pressure might affect her on court.

It was the eighth consecutive victory for Svitolina, who was won four tournaments this year. She broke down in tears during her post-match speech to the crowd, which regaled her with chants of her nickname, "Kiki!"

"I honestly tried to forget my win against Cibulkova yesterday because I had to move on a little bit". And we're in the quarterfinals. The last woman representing France to win the country's Grand Slam tournament was Mary Pierce in 2000. Mladenovic often played to the fans, waving her arms to ask for more noise.

Williams, who turns 37 this month, is a seven-time major champion, with all of those titles at Wimbledon or the U.S. Open.

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Heading into the French Open, many figured the women's draw was wide open, because of the absences of Williams' sister, Serena (who is pregnant), and Maria Sharapova (who was denied a wild-card entry that she needed as she comes off a drug suspension).

Bacsinszky, the only woman to have reached the Roland Garros quarterfinals in 2015, 2016 and 2017, will face local favourite Kristina Mladenovic in the last eight after she eliminated defending champion Garbine Muguruza.

Nadal is through to his 11th at Roland Garros - equaling Roger Federer's Open era record.

Rafael Nadal railroaded compatriot Roberto Bautista Agut 6-1 6-2 6-2 in a fourth round performance that was also an emphatic statement. So far he has lost just 20 games - a record only bettered by the 19 he lost in 2012.

His opponent in the last eight will be either No. 5 Milos Raonic of Canada or Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta.

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