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Sharapova, Kvitova ousted, Serena survives another scare at the French Open

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It was another day of upsets in the women's draw at the French Open with defending champion Maria Sharapova sent packing early on Monday morning by Lucie Safarova, and the day ending with one of the other favourites for the title, Petra Kvitova also getting dumped out of the tournament in the fourth round. However, in between all the blood and thunder that engulfed Roland Garros today, stood strong the powerful figure of arguably the greatest women's tennis player of all-time, Serena Williams, who braved a tremendous challenge from young American Sloane Stephens to prevail in three tough sets.

The day started with Russian diva Maria Sharapova squaring off against Czech left-hander Lucie Safarova, an the no.13 seed proved unlucky for the defending champion as she sneaked away with a tight opening set, 7-3 in a tiebreak, before holding her poise to wrap up the contest in straight sets, 6-4 in the second.

Safarova has always given Sharapova a good match in their previous meetings, but the Russian had almost always emerged victorious, most recently in long gruelling contests that went the distance. Today though the day belonged to the underdog as Lucie took her chances, never really allowing Maria to build up a head to steam.

Up next for Safarova is the exceptionally talented Garbiñe Muguruza, who stunned the considerably more experienced Flavia Pennetta in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4. The scoreline doesn't really tell the story of the match with Pennetta up a break in each sets, and Muguruza finishing both the stronger.

Serena Williams meanwhile squared off against unseeded American Sloane Stephens, who had incidentally dumped Venus out of the tournament in the very first round. It appeared for the first half an hour that Stephens was going to complete a rare Williams double, when she raced through the opening set 6-1. The second set was a tight affair with Stephens hanging on for large periods to compete with Serena, but the world no.1's experience saw her through the tough stages, and she nicked it 7-5.

Anyone who though Stephens would pack up and go home at the start of the third was sorely mistaken as the future of American tennis stood toe-to-toe with Serena, but once again Williams had that just little bit extra in her locker to prevail.

Up next for Serena is Italian Sara Errani, who registered a routine 6-2, 6-2 win against Germany's Julia Goerges to advance to the quarter-finals.

The last of the quarter-final pairings will see 21 year old Belgian Alison Van Uytvanck square off against 23rd seeded Swiss Timea Bacsinszky. Bacsinszky produced some exciting tennis late in the day to stun 4th seed Petra Kvitova, 2-6, 6-0, 6-3.

Women's Singles - Fourth Round

[1] Serena Williams d. Sloane Stephens 16 75 63

[13] Lucie Safarova d. [2] Maria Sharapova 76 (3) 64

[23] Timea Bacsinszky d. [4] Petra Kvitova d. 26 60 63

[17] Sara Errani d. Julia Goerges 62 62

[21] Garbine Muguruza d. [28] Flavia Pennetta 63 64

Alison Van Uytvanck d. Andreea Mitu 61 63