Paris: Defending champion Maria Sharapova joined third seed Victoria Azarenka in the French Open quarter-finals as both posted routine fourth-round wins.
Sharapova was all business in seeing off American 17th seed Sloane Stephens 6-4 6-3 to set up a meeting with Serbian 18th seed Jelena Jankovic, who thrashed US hope Jamie Hampton 6-0 6-2, while double Australian Open champion Azarenka swamped 2010 French Open champion Francesca Schiavone 6-3 6-0.
Sharapova, who in beating Sara Errani in last year's final became the sixth player in the Open era to complete a full collection of Grand Slams, was rarely troubled by Stephens, Australian Open semi-finalist last January, the Floridian 20-year, gifting her a final break by hitting long on match point.
"I knew this was going to be a really hard match so I'm delighted to be in the quarter-final," said Sharapova, who found the wind made her task a little more challenging than she had hoped.
Self-critically she added: "This tournament I don't think I have played, you know, my best level, especially in the first few rounds. I thought I needed to step it up today. Yet it only gets tougher from here."
Jankovic, who coasted past an outclassed Hampton in 62min, has a 1-7 career record against Sharapova, whom she beat on grass six years ago, and conceded the odds are stacked against her.


Latest News from Sports News Desk