French Open: Milos Raonic, Bouchard advance, Federer out
Tennis stars reach quarter-finals
Milos Raonic and Eugenie Bouchard made history for Canada on Sunday as both powered into the quarter-finals of the French Open.
Eighth-seeded Raonic, from Thornhill, Ont., dispatched Spain's Marcel Granollers 6-3, 6-3, 6-3, while Bouchard cruised past Germany's Angelique Kerber 6-1, 6-2.
"I'm not surprised to make by first Grand Slam quarter-final but I would not have thought I would have done it first here on clay," said Raonic. "I've always felt I could play well on clay.
"The key is not making much of a change in my game just for the clay. I've been trying to keep what I've been doing on the hardcourts.
Raonic will be the first Canadian man to play a Grand Slam quarter-final since Mike Belkin at the 1968 Australia Open. He is also the fourth Canadian man in history to reach the last eight at a major: Robert Powell (1908, 1910 and 1912 Wimbledon), William Johnston (1922-23 US Championships) and Belkin.
If I can put this level of tennis together I believe that I have it in myself [to win a Grand Slam title].- Canada's Milos Raonic
Bouchard is the first Canadian woman to make the quarter-finals in Paris since Helen Kelesi did it in 1989.
Raonic fired only six aces but went up an early break in each of the three sets in a contest which lasted less than two hours.
"It's been working out well for me," said Raonic. "If I can put this level of tennis together I believe that I have it in myself [to win a Grand Slam title]."
Raonic vs. Djokovic
Raonic will face Serbian second seed Novak Djokovic, a winner over France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-1, 6-4, 6-1. Djokovic beat Raonic in a Rome semifinal last month.
"I'm happy about this win, there are a lot of good things that can come from it," said Raonic. "I'm happy with my level and it's showing in my results. It's also due to all the work I've been putting in."
Earlier, Bouchard needed just 52 minutes to defeat Kerber. She'll face Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro in the quarter-finals of the women's tournament.
"I'm confident and I really believe in my skills. I believe I can play with the best girls out there," said Bouchard. "She's top 10, so I respect her. She can play some really good tennis. I was really mentally prepared for anything, for a battle.
"That mindset kind of helped me, it made me realize whatever happens I can deal with it on the court. I was really going for my shots. That was my intention and it worked."
Bouchard stormed to her victory with 30 winners and 11 unforced errors. She broke Kerber on four of seven occasions as she took revenge for a US Open second-round loss to the German last year.
Bouchard never wavered as she dominated Kerber to win her ninth straight match, the longest win streak of her career. She snapped up the opening set in 22 minutes and was equally lethal in the second as Kerber failed on the only break point she had during the match.
"I just felt good out there, I executed my game plan really well, so I'm happy with that," said Bouchard. "There are always things to improve, and I'm just going to focus on that tomorrow and try to do even better my next match."
Victory lifted her career record against top 10 opponents to 5-10. Her victims this season included No. 10 Sara Errani at Indian Wells in March and No. 8 Jelena Jankovic last April in Charleston.
Bouchard has a 13-4 record at Grand Slams and is 29-11 on the season.
Federer match turns in an instant
One point from a two-set lead Sunday in the French Open's fourth round against 18th-seeded Ernests Gulbis of Latvia, Roger Federer settled under a floating ball and prepared for what should have been a simple putaway. Except, suddenly, it wasn't. Federer sent a meek overhead toward Gulbis, who took advantage of the gaffe, ripping a backhand winner.
That was part of a four-point run that let Gulbis break serve and get very much back into the match, which he wound up winning 6-7 (5), 7-6 (3), 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 to end Federer's streak of nine consecutive quarter-finals at Roland Garros.
"A lot of regrets," Federer said. "I just couldn't kind of figure it out."
It also served as the latest reminder that Federer, now 32 and a father of four, is no longer the nearly infallible force who made it to the closing days of major after major.
"He's Roger Federer," Gulbis said, "but he also gets tight."
Didn't used to be the case. Federer, a 17-time Grand Slam champion, had not left Roland Garros so soon since 2004, when he was beaten in the third round by Gustavo Kuerten.
After that decade-old setback, though, Federer was a quarter-finalist at a record 36 consecutive major tournaments, a streak that ended with a second-round loss at Wimbledon last year. Federer also put together record Slam runs of 10 finals and 23 semifinals in a row.
Now he's bowed out before the quarter-finals at three of the last four majors.
Gulbis now plays No. 6 Tomas Berdych, who eliminated the last American man, No. 10 John Isner. Wimbledon champion Andy Murray and No. 24 Fernando Verdasco finished off third-round victories in matches suspended Saturday night.
Gulbis last reached a major quarter-final at the 2008 French Open.
Federer lost the last five points of the second-set tiebreaker, and then dropped the third set, too.
In the last set, the 25-year-old Gulbis raced to a 3-0 lead, thanks largely to Federer miscues. After one errant forehand, Federer swatted a ball in anger, a rare sign of exasperation from him.
Sharapova survives Stosur
Shouting and shaking her fists after plenty of points, 2012 champion Maria Sharapova reeled off the last nine games to engineer quite a comeback and beat Samantha Stosur 3-6, 6-4, 6-0 Sunday to reach the quarters.
"How quickly things can turn," Stosur said. "I don't think I did much wrong. It was just one of those things. You miss a ball, she hits a good serve next one, [you] play a sloppy game, and all of a sudden, you're even — and she runs away with it."
After dropping the first set and trailing 4-3 in the second, Sharapova did not allow the 19th-seeded Stosur to win another game. Sharapova took control by taking 22 of 25 points in one stretch against Stosur, who won the 2011 U.S. Open and got to the final at the 2010 French Open.
"There are so many emotions you go through in a match, and then there are always moments where you feel a bit of a momentum change," the seventh-seeded Sharapova said. "I think you feel a lot more as a player than maybe a spectator."
Sharapova is trying to get to her third consecutive final in Paris. She completed a career Grand Slam with her title two years ago, then was the runner-up to Serena Williams in 2013.
When this year's tournament draw came out, the match everyone was pointing to in the women's bracket was a potential rematch between Sharapova and Williams in the quarterfinals.
So much for that. The No. 1-seeded Williams was surprisingly beaten 6-2, 6-2 in the second round by 35th-ranked Garbine Muguruza, a 20-year-old from Spain.
Sharapova's quarter-final opponent will be 35th-ranked Garbine Muguruza of Spain.
"Of course now I'm very happy what I did," Muguruza said Sunday after getting to the final eight at a Grand Slam tournament for the first time by eliminating French wild-card entry Pauline Parmentier 6-4, 6-2. "But I want to continue."
The 20-year-old Muguruza upset top seed Serena Williams last week.
In women's fourth-round matches Monday on the other half of the draw, it will be No. 4 Simona Halep against No. 15 Sloane Stephens, No. 6 Jelena Jankovic against No. 10 Sara Errani, 2009 French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova against No. 23 Lucie Safarova, and No. 23 Andrea Petkovic against 148th-ranked qualifier Kiki Bertens.
Kuznetsova and Sharapova are the only past major champions left.