Keys, Stephens and Putintseva break new ground at Roland Garros
Breaking new ground was the theme of Sunday's matches in the women's draw at the French Open as Madison Keys, Sloane Stephens and Yulia Putintseva all reached the last eight for the first time.
Keys' 6-1 6-4 victory over Mihaela Buzarnescu saw her set up a meeting with Putintseva, the Kazakh putting her wretched form on clay behind her to beat Barbora Strycova.
US Open champion Stephens – like Keys – completed a clean sweep of grand slam quarter-finals with victory over Anett Kontaveit, the 10th seed only dropping two games in the process.
Caroline Wozniacki's hopes of joining them were delayed by Daria Kasatkina and the light late on Sunday, the Dane trailing 7-6 (7-5) 3-3 against the impressive 21-year-old.
Meanwhile, in the doubles, the Williams sisters bowed out of the competition at the third-round stage as they were beaten by Andreja Klepac and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez.
Serena Williams will now turn her attention to a singles duel with Maria Sharapova on Monday.
KEYS UNLOCKS DOOR TO FIRST QUARTER-FINAL
Keys has now reached at least the last eight of every grand slam after getting past Buzarnescu in straight sets.
"This was always kind of the one where it was the most difficult for me, and it was always the toughest one to feel like I could play well here," she told a news conference. "So to be able to get to the quarterfinals really means a lot."
The 2017 US Open runner-up has not dropped a set in the first week and clinically ended Romanian Buzarnescu's best run in a major.
Keys grasped all four break-point opportunities, hit 17 winners and won 82 per cent of points on her first serve on Court Philippe Chatrier.
"I'M NO RAFA!"
Sloane Stephens eased past Petra Kvitova's conqueror Kontaveit in under an hour to seal her first appearance in the second week at Roland Garros.
The US Open champion had struggled to make much of an impact coming into the grand slam but her love affair with the red dirt is slowly growing.
"I mean, I don't think that I'm such a great clay-court player," she told a media conference. "I think I just enjoy playing on it. I think it's a cool surface. It's different from all the other surfaces we play on all year long.
"But I'm no Rafa [Nadal]!"
PUTINTSEVA PUSHES ON
Coming into the grand slam, few would have bet on Putintseva being in the second week, but a 6-4 6-3 win on Sunday over Strycova booked her fourth-round berth.
Putintseva had only won two matches on clay prior to the French Open but she has now seen off Strycova, Johanna Konta, Jennifer Brady and Wang Qiang.
She will now prepare for a clash with Keys, having only ever been as far as round three at a grand slam previously.