Muguruza has one foot in French quarters
PARIS (AP) Garbine Muguruza advanced to the French Open quarterfinals for the third straight year with an intensely fought 6-3, 6-4 victory against 2009 champion Svetlana Kuznetsova on Sunday.
Under storm-laden skies, the fourth-seeded Spanish player started at lightning pace, serving an ace with her first and third balls of the first game. In the last game, she needed five match points to finish off the 13th-seeded Russian.
In the men's draw, eighth-seeded Milos Raonic fell 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 to Albert Ramos-Vinolas, a 55th-ranked player from Spain who had never made it past the second round of 18 previous Grand Slam tournaments.
Ramos-Vinolas earned the victory with aggressive shot-making and some terrific defensive play. He broke Raonic five times and only lost serve once himself, saving 6 of 7 break points.
''I have no words to explain how I feel,'' Ramos-Vinolas said. ''It was four years in a row losing in the first round.''
Cool and very cloudy weather appeared to take some bite out of Raonic's serve on the red clay, with new coach John McEnroe among the spectators on Court Suzanne Lenglen before they work together at Wimbledon next month. Raonic, a quarterfinalist at Roland Garros in 2014 and semifinalist at this year's Australian Open, complained of an aching left hip in his previous match but didn't appear to have trouble moving against Ramos-Vinolas.
Raonic beckoned over the chair umpire in the last game to inspect a shot that gave Ramos-Vinolas two match points. She ruled it in, pointing that the ball had nicked the line.
The Spaniard couldn't capitalize on those opportunities. But he made no mistake with his third match point, earned with an ace served out wide, sealing the win in 2 hours and 20 minutes with a smash.
He celebrated by firing a spare ball into the air in delight.
Serving with new balls, Kuznetsova was broken in the eighth game of the first set against Muguruza, having saved five break points two games two games earlier. The Spaniard won the set with a winning cross-court backhand.
The Russian struggled with her serve in the third game of the second set, serving an ace but then not landing any of her subsequent first serves. She was broken when Muguruza pounced on her second serve at 15-40 with a crunching return to get an early 3-1 lead.
At 15-40 in the eighth game, Muguruza hit a forehand wide to end a 12-shot rally, allowing Kuznetsova to level at 4-4.
But Muguruza kept the momentum. A ferocious backhand return on Kuznetsova's second service gave the Spaniard her second break point in the ninth game. She lured Kuznetsova into the net with a drop shot and then hit a forehand passing shot for a 5-4 lead.
After failing to convert her first four match points on serve, Muguruza brought up a fifth with a crunching forehand. Kuznetsova then netted a backhand to seal the victory for Muguruza in 1 hour and 38 minutes.