Super Serena cracks Vinci code

Tennis French Open: American World No 1 storms into quarterfinals; Ferrer marches past Anderson

Super Serena cracks Vinci code

They are both Grand Slam winners, they are both ranked number one and they are both 30-something yet that is where the similarities ended as Serena Williams left Roberta Vinci red-faced at the French Open on Sunday.

As the reigning doubles champion at Roland Garros, Vinci arrived for the fourth-round showdown knowing that she had the game to hurt Williams on red dirt.

Yet it was the 30-year-old Italian who was left aching all over as she was given the runaround for 70 agony-filled minutes before Williams ended the ordeal with a 6-1, 6-3 win.

Waiting for her in the last eight will be another player eager to derail Williams’ pursuit of a 16th Grand Slam title, 2009 champion Svetlana Kuznetsova.

That may well turn out to be Williams’ first test of her title credentials as so far the 31-year-old American has dropped just 10 games in four matches in Paris.

Like Rafael Nadal, Kuznetsova missed the second half of the 2012 season with a knee injury and she warmed up for the challenging task ahead with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 win over German eighth seed Angelique Kerber.

Kuznetsova beat Williams en route to the title four years ago but is under no illusion
about what it will take to beat a player who is on a 28-match winning streak.

Second seed Roger Federer produced a thrilling riposte to Gilles Simon’s gallant attempt to knock him out on Sunday, coming from behind to beat the Frenchman 6-1, 4-6, 2-6, 6-2, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals.

Federer’s proud record of consecutive Grand Slam quarterfinal appearances stretching back to 2004 looked in jeopardy when Simon turned the match on its head with some superb tennis after being initially outclassed.

But Federer refused to panic and hit back in style to take the sequence to 36 in front of a raucous late-evening crowd on Philippe Chatrier Court.

The 2009 champion will now face another Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga for a place in the semifinals. Tsonga stormed into the last eight after he won an entertaining encounter against Serbia’s Viktor Troicki 6-3, 6-3, 6-3.

Claycourt warrior Tommy Robredo came back from the brink yet again to beat fellow Spaniard Nicolas Almagro and reach the quarterfinals. The 31-year-old Robredo looked down and out when he trailed by two sets and 4-1 on Suzanne Lenglen court but produced a stunning fightback to outlast the 11th seed 6-7 (5-7), 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 after a three-hour-49-minute baseline battle.

David Ferrer has become used to playing second fiddle to compatriot Nadal throughout his 13-year career but over the past week he has been the Spaniard in form at Roland Garros.

While seven-times champion Nadal has slogged and sweated his way through three matches, dropping sets against little-known opponents, Ferrer has made serene progress into the quarters.

Fans had barely filed into a sun-soaked Suzanne Lenglen Court by the time the fourth seed was back in the locker room following a 6-3, 6-1, 6-1 demolition of South Africa’s Kevin Anderson.

Sania-Bethanie advance

Sania Mirza and her partner Bethanie Mattek-Sands progressed to the second round of the women’s doubles with a straight set win over local pair of Alize Cornet and Virginie Razzano.

The seventh seeded Indo-American pair recorded a 6-3, 6-4 win in one hour and 28 minutes in the opening round. They next face American combo of Lauren Davis and Megan Moulton-Levy.

Fourth round results (prefix denotes seeding):  Men’s singles: 2-Roger Federer (Sui) bt 15-Gilles Simon (Fra) 6-1, 4-6, 2-6, 6-2, 6-3; 6-Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (Fra) bt Viktor Troicki (Srb) 6-3, 6-3, 6-3; 32-Tommy Robredo (Esp) bt 11-Nicolas Almagro (Esp) 6-7 (5-7), 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4; 4-David Ferrer (Esp) bt 23-Kevin Anderson (SA) 6-3, 6-1, 6-1.

Women’s singles: 5-Sara Errani (Ita) bt 20-Carla Suarez Navarro (Esp) 5-7, 6-4, 6-3; 1-Serena Williams (US) bt 15-Roberta Vinci (Ita) 6-1, 6-3; Svetlana Kuznetsova (Rus) bt 8-Angelique Kerber (Ger) 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.

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