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Sharapova, Azarenka land in French QFs

1:26 PM, Jun 3, 2013   |    comments
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Paris, France (Sports Network) - Reigning champion Maria Sharapova and Australian Open titlist Victoria Azarenka were a pair of easy fourth-round winners Monday at the French Open.

The second-seeded former world No. 1 Sharapova eased past 17th-seeded American Sloane Stephens 6-4, 6-3, while the third-seeded former top-ranked Azarenka won the final nine games in a 6-3, 6-0 rout of former Roland Garros champion Francesca Schiavone to reach the quarterfinals here for a third time.

The reigning two-time Aussie Open champ Azarenka, though, has never been to the semifinals at Roland Garros.

"The next step is quarterfinals," the Belarusian star Azarenka said. "Never been past it here, so it would definitely be a much better result."

Schiavone won the 2010 French title and was the 2011 runner-up. The Italian veteran hasn't been past fourth round of a major since her loss to Li Na in the 2011 French finale.

Sharapova beat Italian Sara Errani in last year's French Open final to complete the career Grand Slam and has now won her last 11 matches here after dismissing Stephens on Monday. The Aussie Open semifinalist Stephens was 8-1 in Grand Slam action this season before running into the Russian superstar Sharapova.

Sharapova awaits the Jelena Jankovic-Jamie Hampton winner, while Azarenka will next play 12th-seeded Russian Maria Kirilenko, who handled surprising American Bethanie-Mattek Sands 7-5, 6-4 on Day 9. The 26-year-old Kirilenko has yet to lose a set at this fortnight and will now appear in her first-ever French Open quarterfinal and third career major quarter.

The Sports Network

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