PARIS (Reuters) - Eugenie Bouchard’s meteoric rise continued on Sunday when the baby-faced Canadian demolished Angelique Kerber 6-1 6-2 to claim a quarter-final spot at the French Open.
The 18th seeded Bouchard, who reached the Australian Open semi-final this year, blazed away with 30 winners in just 52 minutes on court Philippe Chatrier.
Andy Murray survived a cliffhanger against Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber, returning to court on Sunday to win 12-10 in the deciding set after their third-round match had been stopped by bad light at 7-7 in the fifth the previous evening.
French hopes took a knock as Richard Gasquet failed to stage a comeback against Spain’s Fernando Verdasco in another third round match held over from Saturday.
Bouchard’s pace and variety of shots was too much to handle for the higher-seeded Kerber, who had reached the last eight at Roland Garros in 2012.
The German was caught snoozing early on and went 5-0 down, never recovering as Bouchard set up a meeting with 14th seed Carla Suarez Navarro after the Spaniard used her one-handed backhand to great effect to end the run of up-and-coming Croatian Ajla Tomljanovic with a 6-3 6-3 win.
“I feel like since the beginning of the year I have been improving my game, since Australia I‘m at a different level from there,” said Bouchard, who claimed her first WTA title the previous week in Nuremberg.
”I have been feeling that way in practice and in matches recently. Even if it’s not always there, I know that I can really play at a good level.
“I have confidence in myself. I can play like this and play even better,” the 20-year-old added.
Predicting that Bouchard could win the title, Kerber said: “She’s a great player. She played very well today. But I actually didn’t find my rhythm.”
In the men’s draw, sixth seed Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic was the first to advance into the quarter-finals, dismissing the towering John Isner 6-4 6-4 6-4.
Berdych broke the American 10th seed’s serve once in each set for a no-nonsense victory to book a quarter-final encounter with either 17-times grand slam champion Roger Federer or Latvia’s Ernests Gulbis.
Murray set up a fourth-round clash with Verdasco, after holding his nerve in a high-quality finale to his clash with Kohlschreiber on Court Suzanne Lenglen.
Kohlschreiber served to stay in the match six times but finally relented as Murray, who had led by two sets to one and 4-2 on Saturday, clinched victory on his second match point with a blistering backhand return.
The seventh seed’s 3-6 6-3 6-3 4-6 12-10 win means he faces left-hander Verdasco, the man he beat in the quarter-finals at Wimbledon last year from two sets down.
Verdasco barely broke sweat to see off French 12th seed Gasquet, taking advantage of his opponent’s lethargy to win 6-3 6-2 6-3.
Later on Sunday, world number two Novak Djokovic, chasing the only grand slam title missing from his collection, faces Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the 13th seed.
Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Martyn Herman