French Open 2021: Unheralded Greek Maria Sakkari shocks Roland Garros with thrashing of Grand Slam champion Sofia Kenin

Greek Maria Sakkari has bundled American fourth seed Sofia Kenin out of the French Open with a 6-1 6-3 thrashing to reach her maiden Grand Slam quarter-final.

Sakkari, 25, had lost her two previous fourth-round appearances in Grand Slams and came into the clash with two losses in majors to 2020 Australian Open winner Kenin.

But the Greek, who won their last meeting in Abu Dhabi this year, raced to a 4-0 lead in the opening set, as Kenin - the highest women's seed left in the tournament - served two double faults in each of her two service games.

"I was stuck in the third round a lot of times, and that was an obstacle that I wanted to just kind of like break that curse and make it to the fourth round," Sakkari says.

"Now I'm excited to be in the quarter-finals for the first time. I knew it was going to come, I didn't know when, but I think that I've been playing very good tennis, especially this year."

Maria Sakkari
Maria Sakkari Photo credit: Getty Images

A wasteful Kenin - last year's beaten finalist at Roland Garros - managed to hold just two service games and cut a frustrated figure on Suzanne Lenglen court, constantly muttering to herself, but failing to solve her problems.

She was the highest-seeded player surviving in the women's draw, after the retirement of injured world No.1 Ash Barty, second seed Naomi Osaka's withdrawal due to mental health issues and third seed Aryna Sabalenka's defeat.

But Kenin, who played with taping on her left thigh, failed to turn up, serving nine double faults and making 32 unforced errors - the last when she sent a shot long on the second match point.

"I'm obviously disappointed today," Kenin sayw. "It's definitely not the match that I wanted to play, I feel like nerves got the better of me."

Sakkari's progress to the quarter-finals, along with Stefanos Tsitsipas, made it the first time a Greek woman and a Greek man have made the last eight at the same major.

The 17th seed will meet either Polish defending champion Iga Swiatek or unseeded world No. 81 Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine for a place in the semis. 

Meanwhile, American teenager Coco Gauff has reached her first Grand Slam quarter-final with a crushing 6-3 6-1 defeat of Tunisia's Ons Jabeur.

Coco Gauff
Coco Gauff Photo credit: Image - Getty Images

The 17-year-old capitalised on a nervous start by Jabeur and never let her opponent off the hook in a clinical display.

Jabeur - like Gauff, a former junior French Open champion - tried to mix things up with her trademark drop shots, but nothing could disrupt her opponent's flow.

Gauff wrapped up the win in less than an hour on her fourth match point and is yet to drop a set in the tournament.

She will face Czech Barbora Krejcikova, who swept American Sloane Stephens aside 6-2 6-0, for a place in the semis.

"It means a lot to me, especially as I have lost in the fourth round a couple of times, so it feels good to get over that hurdle," 24th seed Gauff says. "Today I played probably my best match so far in the tournament."

Gauff looked supremely composed throughout and her serving would have done justice to idol Serena Williams.

She served no double faults, and such was the accuracy and power of her serve that Jabeur won only nine points off it.

"I think she never served like this before and that was her best day today," says 25th seed Jabeur, who matched her run to the fourth round last year.

"It was very hard for me to return today. I think she deserved it today and I will have to get back to work, but honestly, not really a lot to regret."

With unseeded Krejcikova the next hurdle for Gauff, the odds on her lifting the title are shortening rapidly.

She has now won nine matches in a row - her longest winning streak on the professional circuit -- after claiming her first claycourt title in Parma in the build-up to Roland Garros.

"I just feel like this has been the most consistent tennis I have played at this level," she says. "Hopefully, I can keep that going."

American Sloane Stephens, the 2018 runner-up, was knocked out 6-2 6-0 in the fourth round by Czech Barbora Krejcikova on Court Suzanne-Lenglen.

Iga Swiatek held off a fierce challenge from Ukraine's Marta Kostyuk to advance into the quarter-finals.

The eighth-seeded Pole has now won 22 consecutive sets at Roland Garros to set up a clash with Sakkari as she bids to become the first woman to retain her title here since Justine Henin in 2007.