Getting her game in gear at a Grand Slam tournament, as usual, Sloane Stephens moved into the French Open’s fourth round for the third consecutive time.
Now comes the 15th-seeded American’s toughest test yet this year in Paris, a matchup against No. 4 Simona Halep of Romania. Neither has ever made it to the quarterfinals at Roland Garros.
“Obviously, as the tournament goes on,” Stephens said, “the competition gets tougher.”
She eliminated Ekaterina Makarova of Russia 6-3, 6-4 on Saturday, while Halep beat Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor of Spain 6-3, 6-0.
“If I knew what the switch was or what I was supposed to do, I would probably do it every week,” Stephens said after her first-round victory in Paris. “I guess fortunately it’s at the Slams I play well. Not too disappointed with that.”
At No. 4, Halep is the highest seeded woman left at Roland Garros, because of early losses by No. 1 Serena Williams, No. 2 Li Na and No. 3 Agnieszka Radwanska.
She played quite cleanly against Torro-Flor, making only 11 unforced errors and saving all eight break points she faced. Halep converted 5 of 14 break points she earned.
Kuznetsova downs Kvitova
Svetlana Kuznetsova came back to beat an error-prone Petra Kvitova 6-7 (3), 6-1, 9-7, while the 2008 title winner at Roland Garros, Ana Ivanovic, bowed out with a 6-3, 6-3 loss to Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic.
Kuznetsova broke at love in the final game when a 13-stroke exchange was capped by a missed forehand by Kvitova. Kuznetsova, meanwhile, made only 20 unforced errors in the match and faces Safarova next.
Fifth-seeded David Ferrer got to the fourth round by defeating No. 32 Andreas Seppi of Italy 6-2, 7-6 (2), 6-3.
Ferrer will face No. 19 Kevin Anderson of South Africa for a place in the quarterfinals.
Anderson advanced when Ivo Karlovic retired after one set on Saturday because of a bad back.