PARIS (REUTERS) - American Madison Keys blazed into the French Open quarter-finals for the first time in her tennis career with a 6-1, 6-4 defeat of Romanian Mihaela Buzarnescu on Sunday (June 3).
The 13th seed admitted in the build-up that she had never watched Buzarnescu in action but quickly got to grips with the unheralded 30-year-old, who was playing in the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time.
Striking the ball cleanly and powerfully in perfect conditions on Court Philippe Chatrier, the big-serving Keys bagged the opener in the blink of an eye against an overpowered opponent offering little resistance.
It was pretty much the same story in the second set before Buzarnescu's late resurgence which caused some anxiety in the Keys camp. The Romanian clawed back from 1-5 to 4-5 but Keys shut down the mini revival to serve for victory.
The 23-year-old Keys will now be eyeing a semi-final spot, with the unseeded Kazakh Yulia Putintseva, who stunned Czech 26th seed Barbora Strycova 6-4, 6-3, waiting in the quarter-finals.
World No. 98 Putintseva showed off her wide range of shot-making skills to break Strycova twice in the early exchanges before serving out the opening set in 52 minutes.
The Czech, who was making her first fourth-round appearance in Paris, struggled to find her rhythm and continued to spray the court with unforced errors as Putintseva raced to a 4-1 lead in the second set.
The 23-year-old dropped her serve in the next game but did enough to see off a late challenge from Strycova and wrap up the victory on Court Suzanne-Lenglen.
Putintseva, who defeated British No. 1 Johanna Konta in the opening round, has matched her best performance at Roland Garros by reaching the quarter-finals for the first time since 2016.
"Today I was very tough mentally," she said after the match. "It was a fourth-round match and everyone is play good now. You just have to fight for every point."