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Teen Andreeva ends French challenge in Paris

Mirra Andreeva has become the third player in six years to reach the last eight in the women's singles before her 18th birthday.

The 17-year-old also ended French singles participation at Roland Garros in beating Varvara Gracheva, her compatriot, but now representing France, 7-5 6-2. That enabled her to emulate Amanda Anisimova in 2019 and Coco Gauff in 2021.

She will now meet world No.2 Aryna Sabalenka who pummelled American Emma Navarro 6-2 6-3 in just over an hour to stay on course for her first title in Paris.

Also progressing were world No.4 Elena Rybakina who eased to a 6-4 6-3 victory over Elena Svitolina and 15th-ranked Italian Jasmine Paolini who beat Russian Elina Avanesyan 4-6 6-0 6-1.

When Andreeva, who turned 17 a month ago, hit the winning forehand, she threw her racket over her head and let her emotions go.

Aryna Sabalenka.
Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka had little trouble disposing of Emma Navarro. (AP PHOTO)

"My coaches, before the match, they talk about the plan, about the tactics," Andreeva said. "I listen, but honestly, once I step onto the court, I don't remember anything. That's how I always play."

Andreeva already knew Gracheva well from having trained together at the Elite Tennis Centre in Cannes in the south of France. Gracheva, six years older, decided to represent France in 2018 and played her first tournament as a French player in 2023.

Sabalenka, unbeaten now in 11 straight matches at the majors this year without losing a set, completely overpowered Navarro with her thundering baseline game and attacked the American's weak second serve at every opportunity.

Navarro had stunned the Belarusian at Indian Wells in March but Sabalenka broke her to love at the very start and followed that with another break to race through the first set in 30 minutes.

On a day of glorious sunshine, Sabalenka secured an early break in the second set courtesy of one of her 36 winners to go 2-1 up and leave Navarro with a mountain to climb.

In the other quarter-finals US Open champion Gauff faces Ons Jabeur, and two-time defending champion Iga Swiatek takes on Wimbledon champ Marketa Vondrousova.

with AP