PARIS • Unheralded Spanish left-hander Albert Ramos-Vinolas reached his first Grand Slam quarter-final yesterday with a 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 win over Canadian eighth seed Milos Raonic.
The 28-year-old had never got beyond the second round of any Grand Slam before this year's Roland Garros and had failed to win a match at this 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," saidRamos-Vinolas, who had won just four matches in his entire career at Grand Slams before coming to Paris. "I played a great match. I think the cloudy conditions helped me as they made the court slower."
Raonic had been bothered by a left-hip injury in the last round and the 25-year-old was under-powered on Court Suzanne Lenglen.
With John McEnroe, who has agreed to work with him on his Wimbledon campaign, watching from the stands, the big Canadian succumbed after making 38 unforced errors.
Ramos-Vinolas next faces defending champion Stan Wawrinka, who beat Serbia's Victor Troicki 7-6 (7-5), 6-7 (7-9), 6-3, 6-2 yesterday .
However, the Spaniard has his work cut out as he h trails third seed Wawrinka 6-0 in career meetings, including a defeat last fortnight in Geneva where he won two games.
Garbine Muguruza, who beat 2009 champion Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3, 6-4 to reach the last eight yesterday, is probably the best chance of a Spanish triumph here.
The women's fourth seed moved into the quarter-finals for the third year in a row with a solid display.
Hard-hitter Muguruza, yet to make it to the last four in Paris, left little breathing space for the Russian 13th seed.
"I know maybe now I'm more a favourite," Muguruza said. "I think the one thing that I have really improved is not just one type of shot. It's me - it's the way I prepare for matches.
"I think I have more experience. When I win I analyse why. When I lose I analyse why. And therefore, I have become a better player."
She will next face American Shelby Rogers, who reached her first Grand Slam quarter-final with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Romanian 25th seed Irina Camelia-Begu.
The world No. 108 is the ninth woman outside the top 100 to make the last eight in Paris since 1983.
"It's incredible," said Rogers who broke down in tears after the match. "I always dreamt of this when I was a little girl in Charleston (South Carolina) but never really thought I would reach the quarter-finals in Paris."
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE