June 8, 2021
PARIS (Reuters) -Big-hitting Czech Barbora Krejcikova powered past former French Open finalist Sloane Stephens 6-2 6-0 in a clash of unseeded players to reach the quarter-finals on Monday.
The 33rd-ranked Krejcikova, who won the 2018 doubles title at Roland Garros with Katerina Siniakova, has not lost since a maiden title-winning run in Strasbourg and dominated the 2017 U.S. Open winner on a sun-bathed Suzanne Lenglen court.
Former world number three Stephens, who reached the final in Paris in 2018, did not have any answer to Krejcikova’s powerful but effortless stroke-making in their first meeting and did not help her cause by committing 26 unforced errors.
Krejcikova was the third Czech opponent for Stephens in a row and the American was forced to hurry her shots in the face of clean hitting from her opponent.
“I was just thinking I have to play my game, I have to be aggressive, because I was expecting she’s going to play like high, really topspin balls,” Krejcikova told reporters.
“And it was actually happening. And then, you know, I just think that I was playing smarter. I was actually playing all those important points really well, so I think that was actually the key.
“I felt a little bit that I actually wasn’t the favourite. I felt that Sloane was the favourite. That’s how I actually approached the match.”
The 25-year-old Krejcikova broke the American’s serve twice in the opening set and then wiped her out in the second.
The Czech won 82% of her first serve points and saved all three break points she faced.
Krejcikova converted her second match point with a forehand winner, her 10th of the match, and will meet another American in 17-year-old Coco Gauff, who thrashed Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur 6-3 6-1, for a place in the semi-finals.
(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Berhampore, India; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Ken Ferris)