PARIS: Garbine Muguruza of Spain blazed into the French Open quarter-finals for the third straight year on Sunday, defeating former champion Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3, 6-4.
The 22-year-old Venezuelan-born fourth seed will next play the winner of the tie between Shelby Rogers of the United States and Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania for a place in the semi-finals.
“At the end it is always very tough. She is a player with a lot of experience and I just had to be there,” she said.
“Quarter-finals is a great run and I am looking forward to improving my result here.”
Muguruza is seen as one of the new stars of the women’s game after a breakthrough season in 2015 when she was runner-up to Serena Williams at Wimbledon and made the semis at the WTA Finals.
But in 30-year-old Kuznetsova she was up against one of the wiliest and experienced players on the women’s circuit with two Grand Slam titles to her name — the 2004 US Open and the 2009 French Open.
Both players had early break points on a sparsely-filled Philippe Chatrier centre court in a match of high quality.
And it was the Spaniard who struck first in the eighth game powering in a fine backhand return past the Russian to move 5-3 up.
She then served out comfortably for the set in 46 minutes.
Muguruza kept up the pressure and broke Kuznetsova’s serve twice at the start of the second set, although she dropped her own in between.
The Russian pulled back to level at 4-4, but it was Muguruza who rose to the occasion taking the next two games and clinching the win on her fifth match point.