French Open: Iga Swiatek, Maria Sakkari, Coco Gauff and Barbora Krejcikova all seal quarter-final spots
Poland's Iga Swiatek remains on course to successfully defend her Roland Garros title; she is now the most experienced player left in the women's field; there were also wins for Maria Sakkari, teenager Coco Gauff and Czech Barbora Krejcikova
Last Updated: 07/06/21 11:36pm
Iga Swiatek stayed on track for a successful defence of her French Open title as she set up a quarter-final showdown with Maria Sakkari, while Coco Gauff became the youngest woman to reach the last eight of a Grand Slam since 2006.
A week after her 20th birthday, Swiatek is in the unexpected position of being the most experienced player in the field in terms of major success having won her maiden title here last year.
The Pole's 6-3 6-4 victory over 18-year-old Marta Kostyuk extended her winning run at Roland Garros to 11 straight matches and 22 sets - not quite Rafael Nadal territory but supremely impressive for such a young player.
Swiatek is not just the only player left in the women's draw who has won a Slam title but the only one who has gone beyond the quarter-finals, so it is no surprise she is a heavy favourite.
The eighth seed said: "Her defence was crazy so I had to finish her a few times. I'm not Rafa but my approaches are also pretty hard but she was getting everywhere so big bravo to her because the future's ahead of her. Hopefully there'll be many more meetings like that.
"I'm pretty happy that I'm both in doubles and singles in the quarter-finals because it's a big achievement. I won last year but still being in the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam isn't an everyday thing so I'm really proud that I'm doing good."
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Fourth seed Sofia Kenin became the latest big name to go out of the women's draw, losing 6-1 6-3 to Greek star Sakkari.
Kenin, the beaten finalist last year, was the highest seed left in the tournament and had found some form in Paris after a difficult season.
But this was not a good day for the American, who served nine double faults and could not match the consistency of Sakkari, who made it through to a Grand Slam quarter-final for the first time.
Teenager Gauff broke new ground by reaching her first Grand Slam quarter-final.
At 17 years and 86 days old, Gauff is the youngest woman to reach the last eight of a Slam in the singles since Nicole Vaidisova, who was 17 years and 44 days old when she played in the French Open quarter-finals in 2006.
Gauff caused a sensation when she made the fourth round at Wimbledon two years ago and repeated the feat at the Australian Open in 2020.
Now she has gone one better and, if her form in a 6-3 6-1 victory over Ons Jabeur is anything to go by, she is a legitimate contender for the title.
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Gauff has been in excellent form on the European clay, winning a title in Parma and rising to a career-high ranking of 25 in the world.
"I'm super happy that I'm able to reach my first quarter-final," Gauff said in her on-court interview as she became the youngest American to reach a major quarter-final since Venus Williams at the 1997 US Open. "I played really well today so I'm happy about that."
"Parma gave me a lot of confidence, especially on the clay - my first title on clay - so coming here it gave me a lot of confidence and taught me a lot about how to close matches and deal with the pressure on important points."
American Gauff, who won the junior title at Roland Garros three years ago, is yet to drop a set in singles.
Gauff will play Czech Barbora Krejcikova after she reached the quarter-final with a dominant 6-2 6-0 victory over former finalist Sloane Stephens.
Barbora Krejcikova looked cool as a cucumber on court in her 62 60 win over Sloane Stephens to advance to her 1st Slam quarterfinal.— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) June 7, 2021
She was not feeling cool as a cucumber:
"Half an hour before the match I didn't even want to step on the court." #RG21 pic.twitter.com/Z31mc1T5Ui
Krejcikova is better known as a doubles player but she has been climbing the singles ladder and is now on a nine-match winning run after claiming a WTA title in Strasbourg.