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French Open roundup: Djokovic, Alcaraz, Sabalenka through to quarter-finals

French Open roundup: Djokovic, Alcaraz, Sabalenka through to quarter-finals
© Reuters
Carlos Alcaraz, Novak Djokovic and Aryna Sabalenka all sail through to the quarter-finals on day eight of the 2023 French Open.

Men's number one seed Carlos Alcaraz and number three seed Novak Djokovic posted identical fourth-round wins to sail through to the quarter-finals of the French Open on Sunday.

An in-form Alcaraz was expected to face a true test of his mettle against fellow starlet Lorenzo Musetti, who memorably defeated the US Open champion in last year's Hamburg final.

However, the 20-year-old continued his spectacular run on the clay with a 6-3 6-2 6-2 win over the Italian 17th seed, taking just two hours and eight minutes to seal a quarter-final berth.

Alcaraz got off to a dissatisfactory start against Musetti as he lost his serve in the opening game, but he responded with a double break and a convincing hold to love while serving for the first set.

The Spaniard would display a similar streak of ruthlessness as he got going in the second and third sets, breaking in the fifth and seventh games on both occasions and converting his first match point.

Carlos Alcaraz in action at the French Open on June 2, 2023© Reuters

Once again showcasing a fine array of shots, Alcaraz hit 42 winners compared to just 16 for Musetti, and his reward will be a quarter-final against Stefanos Tsitsipas after the Greek also prevailed in three sets on Sunday, sinking Sebastian Ofner 7-5 6-3 6-0.

Djokovic is still bidding to clinch his third French Open title and displace Alcaraz at the top of the rankings, though, as he posted his own 6-3 6-2 6-2 victory against Juan Pablo Varillas.

The Serbian third seed is yet to drop a set at Roland-Garros this year and dominated Varillas from start to finish, despite only winning 36% of points behind his second serve.

A quarter-final battle with Russia's Karen Khachanov now awaits Djokovic, as the 11th seed eliminated Italy's Lorenzo Sonego in the only men's contest to last longer than three sets on Sunday.

Despite being blown away in the first set, Khachanov dusted himself down to prevail 1-6 6-4 7-6[7] 6-1, with the wind being knocked out of Sonego following a crucial tie-breaker loss in the third set.

Aryna Sabalenka reacts at the French Open on June 4, 2023© Reuters

Over in the women's tournament, second seed Aryna Sabalenka staved off quite the fightback from the USA's Sloane Stephens to advance 7-6[5] 6-4 and prolong her Grand Slam winning streak to 11 matches in 2023.

The Belarusian threatened a bagel in the first set as she raced into a 5-0 lead, but a calamitous collapse allowed a reinvigorated Stephens to draw level at 5-5 before coming unstuck in the tie-breaker.

The second set was far from comfortable for Sabalenka too, but Stephens threw away a 40-0 advantage in the ninth game to lose her serve at the worst possible time, and the Australian Open champion held to love in game 10 to get the job done.

Sabalenka's now prepares for a politically-charged quarter-final with Elina Svitolina thanks to the Ukrainian's 6-4 7-6[5] win over ninth seed Daria Kasatkina, continuing her remarkable comeback since returning from maternity leave.

Finally, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova came from a set down to sink Elise Mertens 3-6 7-6[3] 6-3 and set up a showdown with Karolina Muchova, who bested Elina Avanesyan 6-4 6-3.

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