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Spanish women light up Roland Garros 14 years on

Logotipo de AS AS 02/06/2014 Alejandro Delmás

In reaching the last eight at Roland Garros, Garbiñe Muguruza Blanco and Carla Suárez Navarro have ensured that two Spanish quarterfinalists in the women’s draw at the French Open for the first time in 14 years, after Arantxa Sánchez Vicario, Conchita Martínez and Marta Marrero all featured at the same stage in 2000.

Muguruza, ranked 35, is first up on Philippe Chatrier on Tuesday, where she will face former champion Maria Sharapova. It is a first Grand Slam quarterfinal for the 21-year-old, who defeated Pauline Parmentier 6-4, 6-2 in the fourth round. Earlier in the tournament, Muguruza sent shock waves through Roland Garros by dumping world number one Serena Williams out of the tournament 6-2, 6-2, the 17-time Grand Slam winner’s heaviest loss at a major.

Suárez, Spain’s top ranked number and seeded 14 at the French Open, opens Day 10 on Suzanne Lenglen, where she will play 18th seed Eugenie Bouchard of Canada. The pair have met just once before, at Wimbledon, where Bouchard triumphed. Suárez last reached the quarterfinals in Paris in 2008. “You can’t compare a match on grass to a match on clay,” the 25-year-old said. “I am much more aware of how things work now and how to confront them. I am more mature than in 2008.”

Spanish tennis great Sergi Bruguera, in whose academy Muguruza trained for several years, believes she has proved she can mix it with the top 10 on the WTA Tour. “If someone beats Serena Williams 6-2, 6-2 it’s obvious they have the potential to win this tournament or any Grand Slam, but there is no sense in applying pressure.”

Garbiñe Muguruza celebrates her victory over France's Pauline Parmentier. © PASCAL GUYOT Garbiñe Muguruza celebrates her victory over France's Pauline Parmentier.

“I’m very happy,” said Muguruza after her fourth round win. “Pauline Parmentier played very well and was a very tough opponent… but now comes a huge challenge against Sharapova. It will be a big game and a tough one that I am very happy to be able to confront.”

On Monday, Suárez and Muguruza also progressed to the quarterfinals of the women’s doubles at the expense of Irina-Camelia Begu and Karin Knapp. The unseeded Spaniards will play fourth seeds Kveta Peschke and Katarina Srebotnik for a place in the last four.

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