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Belarus' Aryna Sabalenka plays a backhand return to US Emma Navarro during their women's singles round of 16 match on Court Philippe-Chatrier at the Roland Garros Complex in Paris on Monday. Image Credit: AFP

Paris: World No 1 Aryna Sabalenka pummelled American Emma Navarro 6-2 6-3 in just over an hour on Monday to march into the French Open quarter-finals with an emphatic performance that kept her on course for her first title in Paris.

Navarro had stunned the Belarusian at Indian Wells in March but Sabalenka broke her to love at the very start and followed that up with another break to race through the first set in 30 minutes.

The Australian Open champion, unbeaten now in 11 straight matches at the majors this year without losing a single set, completely overpowered Navarro with her thundering baseline game and attacked the American’s weak second serve at every opportunity.

“It was really tough against her in Indian Wells,” Sabalenka said.

“I was ready for a tough match, to fight for any point, for long rallies. I am super happy with the level I played today.” On a day of glorious sunshine in the French capital after days of rain interruptions, Sabalenka got an early break in the second set courtesy of one of her 36 winners to go 2-1 up and leave Navarro with a mountain to climb.

“Definitely with the sun you are feeling positive,” Sabalenka said. “It has been raining, now the beautiful conditions. I was just trying to focus on myself and do my best on each point.” The American tried to mix things up, adding more drop shots and changing the pace a bit.

She managed to hang on a little longer but could not avoid the inevitable, with the 26-year-old Belarusian, looking to add to her two Grand Slam titles so far, wrapping up proceedings on her first match point.

She will face either Varvara Gracheva of France or teenager Mirra Andreeva in the last eight.

Rybakina beats Svitolina

World No 4 Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan eased to a 6-4 6-3 victory over Ukraine’s Elena Svitolina on Monday to reach her second French Open quarter-final.

After a sluggish start with both players dropping serve, Russian-born Rybakina upped her level up and cruised through the first set.

In the second set, the 29-year-old Svitolina was no match again for Rybakina as the 19th-ranked Ukrainian showed signs of fatigue from the start and lacked precision throughout.

Odessa-born Svitolina had reached the quarter-finals four times before, including 2023, but was unable to trouble the former Wimbledon champion.

Rybakina, who made the last-eight for the first time since 2021, faces 15th-ranked Italian Jasmine Paolini.

Italy’s Paolini reached her first Grand Slam quarter-final with a 4-6, 6-0, 6-1 win over unseeded Russian Elina Avanesyan.

World No 15 Paolini had never advanced past the second round at a major until this year, making the last 16 of the Australian Open in January.