Paris, France (Sports Network) - Reigning champion Maria Sharapova and
Australian Open titlist Victoria Azarenka were a pair of easy fourth-round
winners Monday at the French Open.
The second-seeded former world No. 1 Sharapova eased past 17th-seeded American
Sloane Stephens 6-4, 6-3, while the third-seeded former top-ranked Azarenka
won the final nine games in a 6-3, 6-0 rout of former Roland Garros champion
Francesca Schiavone to reach the quarterfinals here for a third time.
The reigning two-time Aussie Open champ Azarenka, though, has never been to
the semifinals at Roland Garros.
"The next step is quarterfinals," the Belarusian star Azarenka said. "Never
been past it here, so it would definitely be a much better result."
Schiavone won the 2010 French title and was the 2011 runner-up. The Italian
veteran hasn't been past fourth round of a major since her loss to Li Na in
the 2011 French finale.
Sharapova beat Italian Sara Errani in last year's French Open final to
complete the career Grand Slam and has now won her last 11 matches here after
dismissing Stephens on Monday. The Aussie Open semifinalist Stephens was 8-1
in Grand Slam action this season before running into the Russian superstar
Sharapova awaits the Jelena Jankovic-Jamie Hampton winner, while Azarenka will
next play 12th-seeded Russian Maria Kirilenko, who handled surprising American
Bethanie-Mattek Sands 7-5, 6-4 on Day 9. The 26-year-old Kirilenko has yet to
lose a set at this fortnight and will now appear in her first-ever French Open
quarterfinal and third career major quarter.
The Sports Network