French Open: Aryna Sabalenka marches into maiden last-8 in Paris!

Stephens, a former world no. 3 put up a good showing but Sabalenka was better and more decisive

by Abbey Johnson
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French Open: Aryna Sabalenka marches into maiden last-8 in Paris!

Aryna Sabalenka overcame a turbulent first set to reach the quarter-finals of the French Open on Sunday in the evening session. The second seed took an hour and 41 minutes to post a 7-6(5), 6-4 win over 2017 runner-up, Sloane Stephens in their fourth-round encounter.

The second seed, playing freely as she’d been doing all throughout the first week, moved ahead with a 5-0 lead in just 17 minutes. It wasn’t also until the sixth game that Stephens was able to win her first game of the set.

But doing so marked a turnaround in the proceedings. After that game, it was the American’s turn to win four consecutive games to bring the set back on serve at five-all. In the eighth and 10th game of the set, on Stephens’ serve, Sabalenka brought up four set points but wasn’t able to get the breakthrough.

In the tie-break, Stephens was the one to go up with a mini-break but from 2-4 down, Sabalenka pegged her back before eventually pocketing the set on her fifth set point. The world no. 2 yet again gained the upper hand in the second set as she broke Stephens in the fifth game.

Three games later, Sabalenka conceded the break back allowing Stephens to level the set at four-all. The second-highest player in the draw, however, drew blood again right away as she broke Stephens for the second time in the set in the ninth game.

In the 10th game, serving for the match, Sabalenka didn’t allow Stephens to get back in the match and converted the win on the first of the three match points she brought up.

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The 25 winners Sabalenka hit were almost five times as many as Stephens’ five.

The 25-year-old also had 40 unforced errors to her opponent’s 19. Stephens, however, had more forced errors than Sabalenka’s – 34 to the latter’s 22. This is the first time that Aryna Sabalenka’s made it to the quarters of the French Open.

In 2023, coupled with her Australian Open results, Sabalenka’s also won 11 matches on the trot at the Majors. Her next opponent will be Elina Svitolina. Photo Credit: WTA Twitter

French Open Aryna Sabalenka
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