Paris, France – Reigning champion Maria Sharapova and Australian Open titlist Victoria Azarenka were a pair of easy fourth-round winners Monday at the French Open.
The second-seeded former world No. 1 Sharapova eased past 17th-seeded American Sloane Stephens 6-4, 6-3, while the third-seeded former top-ranked Azarenka won the final nine games in a 6-3, 6-0 rout of former Roland Garros champ Francesca Schiavone to reach the quarterfinals in Paris for a third time.
Schiavone won the 2010 French title and was the 2011 runner-up. The Italian veteran hasn't been past fourth round of a major since her loss to Li Na in the 2011 French finale.
The reigning two-time Aussie Open champ Azarenka has never been to the semifinals at Roland Garros.
"The next step is quarterfinals," said the Belarusian star. "Never been past it here, so it would definitely be a much better result."
Sharapova beat Italian Sara Errani in last year's French Open final to complete the career Grand Slam and has now won her last 11 matches here after dismissing Stephens on Monday. The Aussie Open semifinalist Stephens was 8-1 in Grand Slam action this season before running into the Russian superstar Sharapova, who broke her eight times in advancing.
The 20-year-old Stephens is now 1-8 lifetime against women ranked in the top five.
Sharapova will meet 18th-seeded fellow former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic in the quarterfinals, while Azarenka will next play 12th-seeded Russian Maria Kirilenko on Wednesday.
Kirilenko handled surprising American Bethanie-Mattek Sands 7-5, 6-4 on Day 9. The 26-year-old Russian has yet to lose a set at this fortnight and will now appear in her first-ever French Open quarterfinal and third career major quarter.
Meanwhile, the former U.S. Open runner-up Jankovic of Serbia routed upstart 23-year-old American Jamie Hampton 6-0, 6-2 in a brisk 62 minutes in the nightcap on Court Lenglen. Jankovic is now a four-time French Open quarterfinalist, having reached the semis here on three occasions.
The quarters will commence Tuesday, as top-seeded Serena Williams will take on fellow former French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova and fourth-seeded 2012 Wimbledon runner-up Agnieszka Radwanska will be opposed by a fifth-seeded Errani, who is 10-1 in Paris over the last two years.
Williams is 6-2 lifetime against the two-time major champion Kuznetsova, but the Russian captured their lone French Open meeting in the 2009 quarterfinals.
The 15-time Grand Slam singles titlist Williams is currently riding a career- best 28-match winning streak and is a perfect 20-0 on clay this year. She's also 71-3 overall since a stunning first-round loss to Virginie Razzano in last year's French Open, including titles at Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and the Olympic Games.