x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Gonzalez, Safina book last eight berths

Chile's Fernando Gonzalez darted into the quarter-finals of the French Open on the men's side, while women's world No 1 also sealed her place with a 6-1, 6-0 win over Aravane Rezai.

PARIS // Chile's Fernando Gonzalez darted into the quarter-finals of the French Open with a 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 win over Romanian 30th seed Victor Hanescu on Sunday. The 12th seed will play his third quarter-final match at Roland Garros against either world No 3 Andy Murray of Britain or Croatian 13th seed Marin Cilic. Gonzalez relied on his punishing forehand to race through the match in just 87 minutes, becoming the first player to reach the last eight at this year's championships.

The 2007 Australian Open runner-up needed only one break to bag the second as Hanescu, who had not lost a set before Sunday, faded away, bowing out on the second match point on Gonzalez's 29th forehand winner. On the women's side Dinara Safina eased past Aravane Rezai of France 6-1, 6-0 to book her place in the last eight at Roland Garros. The top-seeded Safina has lost only five games in her four matches, winning 6-0, 6-0 in the opening round. She has won four of eight sets so far at love. Safina took over the No 1 ranking this year, but she has yet to win a grand slam title. She lost to Ana Ivanovic in last year's French Open final. Slovak Dominika Cibulkova was first to book a place in the women's quarter-finals when she outwitted the Hungarian Agnes Szavay 6-2 6-4. The 20th seed, who will be appearing in the last eight of a grand slam for the first time, sealed victory over Venus Williams's conqueror with a sweetly struck forehand down the line after a long rally. The 20-year-old Slovak threw her racket up in the air in celebration after booking a date with either Russian former world No 1 Maria Sharapova or China's Li Na, who play their fourth round match later on Sunday. Cibulkova is the first Slovak to reach this stage of Roland Garros since Karina Habsudova in 1996.