Aryna Sabalenka rolls into French Open quarterfinals

No. 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka returned to the French Open quarterfinals with a 6-2, 6-3 win Monday against No. 22 seed Emma Navarro in Paris.

Sabalenka was a semifinalist at Roland Garros last year. The 26-year-old Belarusian never faced a break point in the 69-minute fourth-round match and finished with 36 winners and 12 unforced errors.

Sabalenka avenged a loss against Navarro earlier this year at Indian Wells and reached her ninth career Grand Slam quarterfinal. The two-time Australian Open champion is attempting to become the first woman to win the season’s first two majors since Serena Williams in 2015.

“It sounds crazy to me, to be honest, and I’m super happy that I was able to bring this consistency on the Grand Slams,” she said. “It’s motivating me a lot to keep pushing myself a lot and to see where is the limit.”

Sabalenka, who has lost only 17 games through her four matches, next faces either 17-year-old Russian Mirra Andreeva or French favorite Varvara Gracheva.

No. 4 seed Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan advanced to the quarterfinals with a 6-4, 6-3 defeat of No. 15 seed Elina Svitolina of Ukraine.

Rybakina converted five of seven break points and finished with more than twice as many winners as her opponent (26 to 12). She also won 12 out 18 points at the net.

“I’m trying to come to the net more often,” Rybakina said. “Of course I think that’s the one thing if I improve it’s going to be easier maybe to close some rallies. But it depends, of course, on the score, if you’re confident to do that or not. But slowly I think I’m doing good to progress in that.”

Rybakina will be playing in her WTA Tour-leading ninth quarterfinal of 2024. She faces No. 12 Jasmine Paolini of Italy, who reached the final eight in a Grand Slam for the first time by rallying for a 4-6, 6-0, 6-1 win against Russia’s Elina Avanesyan.

Paolini won 16 of the last 19 games after falling behind 4-0 to begin the match.

“I was a little bit, let’s say, outside of the match,” Paolini said. “So I tried to do one game, then two, three, to get back into the match. To have a better sensation on my racquet. I think it went well, and the second set I was already in the match.”