Tennis-Second seed Sabalenka bludgeons Navarro for French Open quarter-final spot

By Thomson Reuters Jun 3, 2024 | 7:31 AM

PARIS (Reuters) – World number two Aryna Sabalenka pummelled American Emma Navarro 6-2 6-3 in just over an hour on Monday to march into the French Open quarter-finals with an emphatic performance that kept her on course for her first title in Paris.

Navarro had stunned the Belarusian at Indian Wells in March but Sabalenka broke her to love at the very start and followed that up with another break to race through the first set in 30 minutes.

The Australian Open champion, unbeaten now in 11 straight matches at the majors this year without losing a single set, completely overpowered Navarro with her thundering baseline game and attacked the American’s weak second serve at every opportunity.

“It was really tough against her in Indian Wells,” Sabalenka said.

“I was ready for a tough match, to fight for any point, for long rallies. I am super happy with the level I played today.”

On a day of glorious sunshine in the French capital after days of rain interruptions, Sabalenka got an early break in the second set courtesy of one of her 36 winners to go 2-1 up and leave Navarro with a mountain to climb.

“Definitely with the sun you are feeling positive,” Sabalenka said. “It has been raining, now the beautiful conditions. I was just trying to focus on myself and do my best on each point.”

The American tried to mix things up, adding more drop shots and changing the pace a bit.

She managed to hang on a little longer but could not avoid the inevitable, with the 26-year-old Belarusian, looking to add to her two Grand Slam titles so far, wrapping up proceedings on her first match point.

She will face either Varvara Gracheva of France or teenager Mirra Andreeva in the last eight.

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; editing by Clare Fallon)