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By Richard Pagliaro | @TennisNow | Monday, June 3, 2024


Aryna Sabalenka stopped Emma Navarro, 6-2, 6-3, to streak into the Roland Garros quarterfinals and raise her Slam record to 11-0 in 2024.

Photo credit: Clive Brunskill/Getty

Persistent rain struck Roland Garros in week one.

Heavy hitters thundered through the red clay into the quarterfinals today.

More: Super Fan Saves Alex de Minaur

Showing the entire shot spectrum, Aryna Sabalenka stopped Emma Navarro 6-2, 6-3 to streak into her second straight Roland Garros quarterfinal.

Disarming the 23rd-seeded American with her depth and skill in the front court, Sabalenka smacked 36 winners—21 more than her opponent—-against only 14 errors in high-stepping back into the quarterfinals with a celebratory dance.

The explosive Sabalenka excelled in all facets of the game raising her Grand Slam record to 11-0 this season as she continues her quest to become the first woman since Serena Williams in 2015 to capture the Australian Open and Roland Garros championships back-to-back.

The second-seeded Sabalenka will play for a spot in her seventh straight Grand Slam semifinal when she faces either 17-year-old Mirra Andreeva or 88th-ranked Moscow-born Frenchwoman Varvara Gracheva.

Power players had their way on Court Philippe Chatrier today sweeping successive 69-minute wins.

No. 4-seeded Elena Rybakina defeated Elina Svitolina 6-4, 6-3 in the first match on Chatrier.

R The 2022 Wimbledon winner Rybakina converted five of seven break-point chances to charge into her second French Open quarterfinal and first since 2021. Like Sabalenka, Rybakina has not surrendered a set in four tournament wins.

The Stuttgart champion Rybakina, the only woman to defeat world No. 1 Iga Swiatek on clay this year, will play Dubai champion Jasmine Paolini for a semifinal spot.

No. 12-seeded Paolini tore through 12 of the last 13 games in a 4-6, 6-0, 6-1 triumph over 70th-ranked Elina Avanesyan to reach her first Grand Slam quarterfinal.

Remember the days when Sabalenka sometimes chased her service toss like a wiffle ball in a wind tunnel?

Those days are gone.

Imposing on serve, Sabalenka won 22 of 26 first-serve points, pumped seven aces against no double faults and did not face a break point in a 69-minute victory.

Today, Sabalenka took the court with added incentive.

Playing the best tennis of her career, Navarro shocked Sabalenka 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 in the Indian Wells fourth round last March.

Eager to avenge that loss, Sabalenka set a menacing tone from the start. Sabalenka surged through eight of the first nine points hitting drives that backed the American up behind the baseline.

Firing an ace down the T helped Sabalenka hold as she sped to a 4-0 lead after just 19 minutes.

A two-ace game powered Sabalenka to a 5-1 lead. Sabalenka showed her variety, torching a forehand down the line then sifting a soft forehand crosscourt to close the opening set.

“I’ve been working a lot on the touch game,” Sabalenka told Tennis Channel’s Jon Wertheim. “I guess I just have a chance to bring it on court or I didn't trust much before.

“Since Rome I started to believe I can actually use it in a match. Somehow, magically, I started using it and it’s actually quite a successful shot right now, I would say, in my game.”

Hammering heavy forehands, the Belarusian nearly tripled Navarro’s winner total—14 to 5—in the 30-minute first set.

The 22nd-seeded Navarro won just two of 10 second-serve points in the opening set.

Forty-one minutes into the match, Sabalenka scorched a backhand return winner breaking for a one-set, 2-1 lead.

Blasting back-to-back aces, Sabalenka worked through a deuce hold to confirm the break for 3-1.

Complementing sheer force with fine finesse, Sabalenka carved out a backhand drop volley winner holding for 5-3.

Crushing one final forehand winner—her 36th winner of the day—Sabalenka sealed her second consecutive Roland Garros quarterfinal.


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