Tennis: Ramos-Vinolas reaches first Grand Slam quarter-final, Muguruza also in last eight

Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain in action against Milos Raonic of Canada at the French Open tennis tournament in Paris on May 29, 2016.
Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain in action against Milos Raonic of Canada at the French Open tennis tournament in Paris on May 29, 2016. PHOTO: EPA

PARIS (AFP) - Unheralded Spanish left-hander Albert Ramos-Vinolas reached his first Grand Slam quarter-final on Sunday with a 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 defeat of Canadian eighth seed Milos Raonic.

In the women's event, Garbine Muguruza of Spain blazed into the last eight for the third straight year, defeating former champion Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3, 6-4.

The 22-year-old Venezuelan-born fourth seed will next play the winner of the tie between Shelby Rogers of the United States and Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania for a place in the semi-finals.

Ramos-Vinolas, 28, had never got beyond the second round of any major before this Roland Garros and had failed to win a match at the tournament since 2011.

But the world No. 55, who is only his country's ninth best player, ensured a left-hander from Spain would be in the last eight after the injury-enforced withdrawal of nine-time champion Rafael Nadal.

"I had lost four times in a row here so I am very happy," said the shock winner who had also won just four matches in his entire career at the majors before coming to Paris.

"I played a great match. I think the cloudy conditions helped me as they made the court slower.

"It was a great day. I played solid and put a lot of first serves in. These are very good days." His reward is a clash against either defending champion Stan Wawrinka or Serbia's Viktor Troicki for a place in the semi-finals.

He trails third seed Wawrinka 6-0 in career meetings including last week in Geneva where he won just two games.

Ramos-Vinolas beat Troicki in their only meeting at Indian Wells last year.

Raonic had been bothered by a left hip injury in the last round and the 25-year-old was obviously under-powered on Court Suzanne Lenglen on Sunday.

With John McEnroe, who has agreed to work with him on his Wimbledon campaign, watching from the stands, Raonic was broken twice in the first set.

He was a break to the good at 2-0 in the second but Ramos-Vinolas roared back to claim a two-sets lead.

The Spaniard had only ever defeated one other top 10 player before Sunday and that was the impressive scalp of Roger Federer in Shanghai in 2015.

But he was soon to make it two when he broke Raonic for a 5-4 lead in the third set and claimed the tie on a third match point in a seven-minute 10th game.

The Spaniard finished with just 13 unforced errors compared to 38 for the big Canadian.

Muguruza said of veteran Kuznetsova: "At the end it is always very tough. She is a player with a lot of experience and I just had to be there.

"Quarter-finals is a great run and I am looking forward to improving my result here."

Muguruza is seen as one of the new stars of the women's game after a breakthrough season in 2015 when she was runner-up to Serena Williams at Wimbledon and made the semis at the WTA Finals.

But in 30-year-old Kuznetsova, she was up against one of the wiliest and experienced players on the women's circuit with two Grand Slam titles - the 2004 US Open and the 2009 French Open.

Both players had early break points on a sparsely filled Philippe Chatrier centre court in a match of high quality.

And it was the Spaniard who struck first in the eighth game powering in a fine backhand return past the Russian to move 5-3 up. She then served out comfortably for the set in 46 minutes.

Muguruza kept up the pressure and broke Kuznetsova's serve twice at the start of the second set, although she dropped her own in between. The Russian pulled back to level at 4-4, but it was Muguruza who rose to the occasion taking the next two games and clinching the win on her fifth match point.

Later on Sunday, Andy Murray takes a 5-0 career lead over John Isner into their last-16 clash as both men seek to set new national landmarks in Paris.

Second seed Murray is bidding to move ahead of Fred Perry, who was a five-time quarter-finalist, for the most Roland Garros last eights reached by a British man.

Isner, the 15th seed, is aiming to become the first American man to reach the last eight since Andre Agassi in 2003.

Murray has won all of the pair's five meetings but they have never met on clay.

Japanese fifth seed Kei Nishikori has a 6-2 record over French ninth seed Richard Gasquet ahead of their last-16 tie.

Two of those wins came during the European clay-court swing this year in Madrid and Rome, both in straight sets.

Nishikori is trying to make the last eight in Paris for the second successive year while Gasquet, the last French player remaining in either the men's or women's singles, has yet to reach the quarter-finals.