Garbine Muguruza

Sloane Stephens advances to French Open quarters

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PARIS — Sloane Stephens has no other Grand Slam winners – or even finalists – left in her side of the draw at the French Open after beating 2016 champion Garbine Muguruza 6-4, 6-3 on Sunday.

The seventh-seeded American clinched victory on her fifth match point, setting up an intriguing quarterfinal against Johanna Konta of Britain – herself through to the final eight at Roland Garros for the first time.

The path to a second straight French Open final, and a third overall at a major after her title at the U.S. Open in 2017, would seem to be clearing up for Stephens.

If she beats the 26th-seeded Konta, then her semifinal opponent will be either 31st-seeded Petra Martic of Croatia or unseeded 19-year-old Marketa Vondrousova, a left-hander from the Czech Republic. Both are playing in the last eight of a major for the first time.

But Konta does have big-match experience, having reached Grand Slam semifinals at the Australian Open in 2016 and Wimbledon in 2017.

She also has a 2-0 record against Stephens.

Both those matches were played this year: last month in the rain in Rome, the other on Australian hard courts in Brisbane.

“I lost to her in Rome. Really tough day,” Stephens said. “Bad circumstances. Out of the mind. So I’m just going to go in with a clean slate.”

The straight-sets defeat in Brisbane was Stephens’ first match of the year and she admittedly was not well prepared.

“I had a lot of stuff going on at the beginning of the year,” she said. “I think everybody knows I needed a coach. I was kind of all over the place.”

Stephens was runner-up at Roland Garros last year to Simona Halep.

The third-seeded Romanian is still in the draw.

“We have a long way to go until we get there,” said Stephens, who may face another American.

There are three remaining, in the other side of the draw: 14th-seeded Madison Keys, 17-year-old Amanda Anisimova, and 20-year-old Sofia Kenin – who knocked out 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams on Saturday.

Svitolina advances to second round at Hong Kong

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HONG KONG — Top-seeded Elina Svitolina kept alive her chances of reaching the WTA Finals in Singapore by beating Australian wild card Priscilla Hon at the Hong Kong Open on Tuesday.

Fourth-seeded Garbine Muguruza gave herself a belated birthday present by defeated Spanish compatriot Sara Sorribes Tormo.

The 13th-ranked Muguruza, who turned 25 on Monday, has struggled since reaching the French Open semifinals in June. Two weeks ago at Wuhan was the first time since the French Open that she played three matches at a tournament.

The seventh-seeded Daria Gavrilova, a Hong Kong finalist last year, got past Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan.

Japanese qualifier Nao Habino defeated Australia’s Samantha Stosur.

Nadal, Muguruza win ITF player of the year awards

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LONDON — Rafael Nadal and Garbine Muguruza have won the International Tennis Federation’s player of the year awards.

At 31, Nadal becomes the oldest ITF men’s world champion after a season in which he won a 10th French Open and a third U.S. Open.

The Spaniard also became the oldest player to finish the year at No. 1 since the ATP rankings began in 1973.

Muguruza dropped only one set en route to her first Wimbledon title and finished the year at No. 2 behind Simona Halep.

“Becoming ITF world champion in such a competitive year is amazing for me,” said Muguruza, who is also Spanish. “(Nadal) is a great role model for all of us, so it is a great moment for tennis in Spain.”