Serena Williams’ latest quest for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title ended in the French Open last 16 on Sunday, hours after Roger Federer pulled out of what was possibly his last appearance at Roland Garros.
The 39-year-old Williams, still one short of Margaret Court’s all-time record for most Grand Slam singles titles, lost 6-3, 7-5 to Kazakh 21st seed Elena Rybakina, while Federer withdrew as a precaution to protect his body for Wimbledon.
The American won the last of her three Roland Garros titles in 2015, and has not gone beyond the fourth round in Paris since losing the 2016 final. Her exit leaves just two of the women’s top 10 seeds in the competition, reigning champion Iga Swiatek and last year’s runner-up Sofia Kenin.
Greek fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, fancied to reach his first Grand Slam final, with Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in the other half of the draw, sealed his return to the quarter-finals with a 6-3, 6-2, 7-5 victory over Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta.
A semi-finalist at the past two majors, Tsitsipas was beaten in a thrilling five-setter by Djokovic in Paris eight months ago.
He will next face twice Grand Slam finalist and second seed Daniil Medvedev. The Russian, who hadn’t won a French Open match before this week, eased past Chile’s Cristian Garin 6-2, 6-1, 7-5.
Alexander Zverev progressed to the quarter-finals for the third time in four years with a 6-4, 6-1, 6-1 win over Japan’s Kei Nishikori.
The German sixth seed goes on to face world number 46 Alejandro Davidovich Fokina of Spain.
Tamara Zidansek became the first Slovenian woman to reach a Grand Slam quarter-final when she defeated Romania’s Sorana Cirstea 7-6 (7/4), 6-1.
The world number 85 will meet Paula Badosa after the Spaniard beat 2019 runner-up Marketa Vondrousova 6-4, 3-6, 6-2.
Pavlyuchenkova returned to the Roland Garros quarter-finals for the first time since 2011, defeating former world number one Victoria Azarenka 5-7, 6-3, 6-2.
French Open results on Sunday, the eighth day of the 2021 tournament at Roland Garros (x denotes seeding):
Men’s singles 4th round
Alexander Zverev (GER x6) bt Kei Nishikori (JPN) 6-4, 6-1, 6-1
Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (ESP) bt Federico Delbonis (ARG) 6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4
Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE x5) bt Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP x12) 6-3, 6-2, 7-5
Daniil Medvedev (RUS x2) bt Cristian Garin (CHI x22) 6-2, 6-1, 7-5
Women’s singles 4th round
Elena Rybakina (KAZ x21) bt Serena Williams (USA x7) 6-3, 7-5
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS x31) bt Victoria Azarenka (BLR x15) 5-7, 6-3, 6-2
Tamara Zidansek (SLO) bt Sorana Cirstea (ROM) 7-6 (7/4), 6-1
Paula Badosa (ESP x33) bt Marketa Vondrousova (CZE x20) 6-4, 3-6, 6-2
Here’s are the key singles fixtures and the order of play. Seeds denoted in . All matches start at 1100 hrs local time (1430 hrs IST) except ones on the main court (1200 hrs local time / 1530 hrs IST). Other times mentioned are local timings.
Court Philippe CHATRIER
1 WS 4th rd Victoria AZARENKA (BLR) vs Anastasia PAVLYUCHENKOVA (RUS)  followed by
Not before 1400 hrs
2 MS 4th rd Stefanos TSITSIPAS (GRE)  vs Pablo CARRENO BUSTA (ESP)  followed by
Not before 1745 hrs
3 WS 4th rd Serena WILLIAMS (USA) vs Elena RYBAKINA (KAZ)  followed by
Not before 2100 hrs
4 MS 4th rd Alexander ZVEREV (GER)  vs Kei NISHIKORI (JPN)
Court Suzanne LENGLEN
1 WS 4th rd Tamara ZIDANSEK (SLO) vs Sorana CIRSTEA (ROU) followed by
2 WS 4th rd Marketa VONDROUSOVA (CZE)  vs Paula BADOSA (ESP) 
3 MS 4th rd Cristian GARIN (CHI)  vs Daniil MEDVEDEV (RUS) 
4 MS 4th rd Alejandro DAVIDOVICH FOKINA (ESP) vs Federico DELBONIS (ARG)
5th match MD 3rd rd Marcelo AREVALO (ESA) Matwe MIDDELKOOP (NED) vs Rohan BOPANNA (IND) Franko SKUGOR (CRO)
With AFP inputs
The French Open will be broadcast on Star Sports Select and Disney+ Hotstar VIP from May 30 in India
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