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FRENCH OPEN

Wawrinka survives 5-hour marathon to set up Federer quarter-final

Pierre René-Worms, FMM | Stan Wawrinka celebrates after his extraordinary win on Court Suzanne Lenglen.

Stan Wawrinka prevailed in an epic five-set thriller against Stefanos Tsitsipas at the French Open on Sunday to set up an all-Swiss quarter-final clash with Roger Federer, the oldest man to reach this stage of a Grand Slam tournament in 28 years.

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Wawrinka edged Tsitsipas 7-6 (6), 5-7, 6-4, 3-6, 8-6 after 5 hours and 9 minutes of breathtaking tennis in sweltering heat to reach the quarter-finals at a Grand Slam tournament for the first time in two years.

The 24th-seeded Wawrinka saved 22 of 27 break points, including 8 of 8 in the final set, against the No. 6 seed and rising star of tennis, who is 14 years his junior.

Wawrinka won the 2015 French Open for one of his three career major titles and was the runner-up in 2017. But he hadn't been past the fourth round at a Slam since, in part because he missed time after knee surgery.

Next up for him is a clash with his friend and compatriot Federer, who stormed to a 6-2, 6-3, 6-3 win over Leonardo Mayer.

Federer, the 2009 champion in Paris, is playing at Roland Garros for the first time since 2015. At 37, he is the oldest man to make the quarter-finals of a Slam since Jimmy Connors at the 1991 US Open.

"It's fabulous that I can spend this time in Paris," said the 20-time Grand Slam title winner, who last played the tournament in 2015 when he lost in the quarter-finals to Wawrinka.

Despite leading Wawrinka 23-3 in career head-to-head meetings, Federer said he still remembers his quarter-final loss to his friend in Paris four years ago – and the shorts he wore than day.

"I have a bad memory of it. Stan beat me in three sets with his terrible shorts!” Federer joked. “But he played really great that year and won the title."

Konta breaks French Open hoodoo

In a wide-open women's draw after the shock exits of top seed Naomi Osaka and 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams on Saturday, 19-year-old Marketa Vondrousova reached her maiden major quarter-final by thrashing Anastasija Sevastova.

The unseeded Czech, ranked 38th, overcame a tame effort from the Latvian 12th seed, winning 6-2, 6-0 in less than an hour.

"You can't expect you're going to play quarter-finals in a Grand Slam, but I played some tough matches," said Vondrousova. "I'm just happy with my game."

She will face 31st seed Petra Martic for a semi-final spot, after the Croatian followed up her third-round upset of second seed Karolina Pliskova by coming from a set down to beat Estonia's Kaia Kanepi.

The 27-year-old booked her place in the last eight of a Grand Slam for the first time with a 5-7, 6-2, 6-4 victory, recovering breaks of serve in both the second and third sets.

British number one Johanna Konta also continued her comfortable progress through the draw by seeing off Croatia's Donna Vekic in straight sets to reach her first Grand Slam quarter-final since Wimbledon in 2017.

The 26th seed overpowered Vekic 6-2, 6-4 to set up a last-eight tie with last year's runner-up Sloane Stephens, who dispatched the 2016 champion Garbine Muguruza in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3.

Konta had lost in the first round on all of her four previous appearances in the main draw in Paris, but has broken that hoodoo in style, becoming the first British woman to reach the second week since Anne Hobbs and Jo Durie in 1983.

On Saturday, Japanese star Osaka's bid for a third successive Grand Slam title found an underwhelming conclusion with an erratic display in defeat by Katerina Siniakova, before Williams crashed out in similarly poor fashion to fellow American Sofia Kenin.

At least five women will reach their first Roland Garros quarter-final this year, the first time that has happened since 2001.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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