Incredible 53-year first in never-before-seen French Open chaos

·Sports Editor
·3-min read
Coco Gauff, Elena Rybakina and Maria Sakkari, pictured here in action at the French Open.
Coco Gauff, Elena Rybakina and Maria Sakkari are three of the six debutante quarter-finalists. Image: Getty

Six of the eight remaining women's players at the French Open will be making their debut appearance in a grand slam quarter-final, the first time that has ever happened in the Open era.

Maria Sakkari, Barbora Krejcikova, Coco Gauff, Elena Rybakina, Paula Badosa and Tamara Zidansek will all play their first quarter-final at grand slam level on Tuesday as a result of some unprecedented carnage in the women's draw.

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Defending champion Iga Swiatek is the only remaining top-10 player in the draw, while 31st seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova also remains alive.

The French Open quarter-finals will mark the first time since the Open era began in 1968 that six players will make their first appearance in the last-eight at one grand slam.

The incredible piece of history came about after World No.1 Ash Barty was forced to retire hurt in the second round, which followed World No.2 Naomi Osaka's shock withdrawal due to mental health issues.

World No.3 Simona Halep skipped the clay-court grand slam due to a calf injury, while an astonishing eight former grand slam champions were all out after the first round.

Many thought Serena Williams was destined to finally equal Margaret Court's all-time record of 24 grand slam titles, however the seventh seed went down 6-3 7-5 to Rybakina in the third round.

The 21-year-old wasn't even born when Williams made her tournament debut in 1998.

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Iga Swiatek the odds-on favourite for French Open title

Polish 20-year-old Swiatek now has a golden opportunity to win back-to-back Roland Garros titles.

The eighth-seed's next opponent is Greek 17th seed Sakkari as she bids to become the first woman to retain the slam title in Paris since Justine Henin in 2007.

A week after her 20th birthday, Swiatek is in the unexpected position of being the most experienced player in the last-eight in terms of slam success, having won her maiden title here last year.

Sakkari advanced with a comprehensive 6-1 6-3 victory over fourth-seed Sofia Kenin in the third round.

Iga Swiatek, pictured here celebrating after beating Marta Kostyuk at the French Open.
Iga Swiatek celebrates after beating Marta Kostyuk at the French Open. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, 17-year-old Gauff completely overwhelmed Ons Jabeur 6-3 6-1 to become the youngest woman to reach the quarter-finals at any slam tournament since 2006.

She will play Barbora Krejcikova, who dominated Sloane Stephens 6-2 6-0.

Rybakina will play doubles partner Pavlyuchenkova in the last eight, who followed up her victory over third seed Aryna Sabalenka by knocking out Victoria Azarenka 5-7 6-3 6-2.

It will be Pavlyuchenkova's first quarter-final match in Paris since a run to the same stage a decade ago when she was 19.

The other quarter-final in the bottom half will pit Badosa against Zidansek.

Zidansek, who beat Sorana Cirstea 7-6 (4) 6-1, is the first player representing Slovenia to reach the quarter-finals at a slam.

Badosa's run is not as surprising given her excellent recent form on clay, defeating former French Open finalist and 20th seed Marketa Vondrousova 6-4 3-6 6-2 in the third round.

with AAP

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