Djokovic in 9th French Open quarterfinal in row

Clyde Nash
June 5, 2018

The last time the duo faced each other over the net, Stephens ended up consoling her tearful friend after she demolished Keys in the 2017 U.S. Open final.

In earlier third-round action, Spanish No.3 seed Garbine Muguruza eliminated Samantha Stosur, thrashing the Australian, 6-0 6-2.

In that match, Osaka was one game from victory but blew a 5-1, third-set lead. And now they're both French Open quarterfinalists, each making it that far in Paris for the first time with relatively easy straight-set victories at Court Philippe Chatrier on Sunday.

She will face either fourth seed Elina Svitolina of Ukraine or Romanian Mihaela Buzarnescu next.

Osaka led 4-1 but Keys dragged it back to 4-4 with a searing backhand pass.

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The oldest player second-week debutante in a Slam since Jill Craybas at Wimbledon 2005, the 30-year-old committed too many unforced errors even after she had managed to get into rallies, racking up 11 in the first set and 16 in the second.

Fourth-seeded Grigor Dimitrov fell to 0-7 against top-50 opponents at the French Open and still has never made it to the fourth round at the clay-court Grand Slam tournament.

"Hopefully big things can happen here", said Keys.

Novak Djokovic equaled Roger Federer's mark of reaching nine consecutive quarterfinals at Roland Garros by beating No. 30 seed Fernando Verdasco 6-3, 6-4, 6-2.

Keys is one of three Americans to reach the third round with Sloane Stephens and three-times champion Serena Williams also in the hunt.

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She sealed the win with an ace on her third match point.

The second-seeded German won 4-6, 7-6 (4), 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 against Karen Khachanov, a 38th-ranked Russian, in their first-ever meeting on clay or at a major.

Keys is one of three Americans to reach the third round with Sloane Stephens, who beat her in the Flushing Meadows final previous year, and three-times champion Serena Williams also in the hunt.

Keys squandered a match point in the next game, however, and the 23-year-old U.S. Open runner-up looked increasingly tight as the set moved into a tiebreaker. "Lindsay has been wonderful for me in a lot of ways but I think we have always really managed slams well", she said.

He shrugged off a question about spending so much time on court, saying: "I'm young so I may as well stay on court to practice a little bit". Her surge has seen her rise almost 350 spots in the rankings over the past year. Against Buzarnescu, serving a second time for the match, Keys screamed "Come on!" when she crushed a cross-court backhand victor to make it 40-15 and give herself another two chances for victory.

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