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Keys beats Osaka, now ready for trip into unknown
05 June 2018, 08:27 | Rose Hansen
Clive Brunskill Getty Images Madison Keys starts celebrating after finishing off Mihaela Buzarnescu at the French Open
In earlier third-round action, Spanish No.3 seed Garbine Muguruza eliminated Samantha Stosur, thrashing the Australian, 6-0 6-2.
The American sisters beat Sara Errani and Kirsten Flipkens 6-4, 6-2, clinching the first set just as rain started to fall on Court 7.
Buzarnescu, the 31st seed from Romania who holds a PhD in sports science, had never won a Grand Slam match until this week and has yet to drop a set in the first three rounds.
The victor will face U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens in the quarterfinals. In the tiebreaker, Osaka went ahead 4-1, and held set points at 6-5 and 7-6.
A loss would have left the No. 2-seeded Zverev with an 0-8 record at major tournaments against men ranked in the top 50. Against Buzarnescu, serving a second time for the match, Keys screamed "Come on!" when she crushed a cross-court backhand victor to make it 40-15 and give herself another two chances for victory. Keys held steady, though, and was able to convert her second match point when Osaka double-faulted.
Osaka was no stranger, with Keys having met her and beaten her twice - once in a three-set cliffhanger at the U.S. Open in 2016, also at the third round stage. "Right now I'm only thinking about the quarterfinals but hopefully big things can happen here".
Zverev is on Court Philippe Chatrier against Damir Dzumhur, a 26th-seeded Bosnian who is trying to reach the fourth round of any major for the first time.
"Of course I believed that I can play well in the Grand Slams, but I didn't really think that I was a top favourite in this tournament", she told reporters.
"I made the final of the U.S. Open but lost to my friend Sloane Stephens", the 23-year-old Keys said. Her surge has seen her rise almost 350 spots in the rankings over the past year. "But there are a lot of girls who are playing more consistent - played more consistently than me on clay than I did".
But trailing 1-5, the left-hander began to engage Keys in longer all-court rallies that tested the 23-year-old's movement; having carved out her first break point following a net cord at 2-5, Buzarnescu took full advantage by whipping her forehand cross-court and approaching the net as Keys' defensive shot sailed long.
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