Garbine Muguruza hits out at French Open crowd

Plus, all eight women who play for quarterfinal berths Monday are seeking a first major title.

Croatian qualifier Petra Martic upset 17th-seeded Anastasija Sevastova 6-1 6-1 to reach the fourth round of the French Open. How right those folks were.

"'Kiki, Kiki!" yelled the crowd as Mladenovic, a player born of Serbian parents and who speaks good English and cheers herself up in Italian, negotiated her way through the tricky fourth-round match.

French players have often crumbled under the pressure of playing a grand slam at home but Mladenovic seems to feed off the crowd.

"She's my favourite of the big names", 26-year-old Amelie Brives told Reuters, smiling as Muguruza hesitantly addressed the court in French.

I like Mladenovic to advance to the French Open semifinal. She then joked: "I made about 35 double faults today, but everything's OK". In the third set, Mladenovic again relied on the crowd to lift her game, and also ruffle her opponent.

She nearly pulled out of her first match but her condition improved afterwards, although the 24-year-old, who will be playing her first fourth-round match at Roland Garros, said her back is still stiff.

"I think today was actually my confidence that brought me to win this match, because probably if I would be struggling a little bit, it would be really tough, because she was striking the ball really well", Svitolina said. "I just give her credit for playing well every point, even in the first set". And we're in the quarterfinals.

Muguruza has failed to make the final of a single tournament since beating Serena Williams to win her maiden grand slam last June.

Asked whether she could hear Mladenovic yelling "forza" (come on) on her unforced errors, Muguruza replied: "No, I think she speaks like 25 languages, I heard". She has never won the French Open and this is her 20th appearance in the event.

She had won just two matches in five previous visits to Roland Garros, and is still searching for her best form. She also advances to only her second career major quarterfinal (2015 U.S. Open). The fourth-seeded Spaniard next meets either No. 5 Milos Raonic of Canada or Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta.

Muguruza forced a third set by taking the second 6-3, breaking in the last game. The eighth seed led two sets to one but trailed by a double break at 3-0 down in the fourth set when rain had halted play on Saturday.

  • Julie Sanders