Karolina Pliskova ends French presence to reach Roland Garros last four

Teary-eyed defending champ Garbine Muguruza has been sent packing from Roland Garros

Simona Halep plays a backhand during Wednesday's quarterfinal French Open match.

Third-seeded Simona Halep advanced to the quarterfinals of the French Open by beating No. 21 Carla Suarez Navarro 6-1, 6-1.

Venus Williams was the last of the past major title winners in the draw, and she lost in the fourth round to 30th-seeded Timea Bacsinszky 5-7 6-2 6-1 on Sunday.

She played flawless tennis in the third set, breaking in the opening game and never looked back, handing Svitolina a third-set bagel, committing just one unforced error in the process.

"I think I am more present on court, and I know exactly what I have to do against each player. That's it. It's over", the Romanian recalled.

"I started to feel more relaxed maybe because I thought it's finished, and I changed the rhythm", Halep told reporters.

"I knew that is the only one thing that I have to change to have him back". Only later, while checking Twitter, did Halep find out what the score was. "On clay I never won against her, so it was a really good match".

"I was two points away from winning this match".

"Yeah", Halep confirmed. "Was better, actually".

Halep now faces Karolina Pliskova, who knocked out the last remaining French singles player, Caroline Garcia, 7-6 (7-3), 6-4.

The No. 1 ranking will hang in the balance: If Pliskova reaches the final, she will replace Angelique Kerber, a first-round loser in Paris, atop the WTA.

Halep and Cahill began collaborating at the end of 2015, a connection which has built promisingly apart from a brief break this season after Halep's Miami Open meltdown.




No. 2 Karolina Pliskova vs.

Asked how she managed not to let the frustration take over, she said smiling: "You want me to cry, no?". "You've got to think that Halep's kind of the favourite in that bottom half".

Pliskova's self-effacing comment about making it to the final weekend at Roland Garros makes sense.

On a sunny Court Philippe Chatrier, she lobbed Garcia from the back of the court to give herself two match points.

For his part Nishikori has only ever beaten Murray twice but one of those wins came at last year's US Open when Nishikori got home in five sets.

The second set was a similar story with Murray dominating in all the key statistics and he made sure he would not be on court longer than needed by breaking serve in the first game of the third set.

"I was expecting a very tough game", said Halep, the 2014 French Open runner-up.

Svitolina is number one in the 2017 standings and arrived in Paris fresh from a final victory over Halep at the Italian Open.

The 23-year-old survived a raw test of nerves to defeat compatriot Alize Cornet in the last 16 in a tie overshadowed by a bitter feud between the two.

The local favourite held serve in the second set until the 10th game, when Pliskova scooped a lob that handed her a match point which she converted confidently with a forehand victor.

"Such a big event", she said.

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