PARIS (Reuters) - Italy’s Sara Errani became the first woman into the French Open quarter-finals when she knocked out former champion Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia 6-0 7-5 on Sunday.
Claycourt specialist Errani, who had never gone beyond the second round at Roland Garros before this year, reeled off the first eight games before Kuznetsova won her first game, on a break.
Kuznetsova, the 2009 champion who had beaten Errani in all five previous meetings, hit a succession of shots into the net to give away matchpoint in the 12th game and then put a forehand wide.
The match, on the main Philippe Chatrier showcourt, began in front of a handful of spectators in chilly, overcast conditions with a threat of rain.
Kuznetsova, who sports tattoos on her arms reading “Pain doesn’t kill me, I kill the pain”, and “Only God is our judge”, served for the second set at 5-4 but was broken to love after a run of errors.
Errani, seeded 21st, had beaten another former French Open champion Ana Ivanovic in the third round and will now meet 10th-seeded German left-hander Angelique Kerber.
Errani said she was determined to keep her focus after reaching the French last eight for the first time.
“I have played good games but I must stay concentrated,” the 25-year-old Italian told a news conference.
“I am happy, I am curious to see how far I can go, what level I can get to.”
Kuznetsova was the first to admit that her game had been below-par, saying: ”It is really disappointing. I knew my chances but instead I didn’t use them.
“I just have to go back and just have to work on my game,” added the Russian, who started working Marat Safin’s old coach Hernan Gumy a week ago.
“I still have to adjust some things. You cannot just start to work with a coach one week before the French Open.”
Reporting by Clare Fallon; Editing by Pritha Sarkar