Published: Mon, June 05, 2017
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

2016 champ Muguruza loses to France's Mladenovic in Paris

2016 champ Muguruza loses to France's Mladenovic in Paris

Heading into the French Open, many figured the women's draw was wide open, because of the absences of Williams' sister, Serena (who is pregnant), and Maria Sharapova (who was denied a wild-card entry that she needed as she comes off a drug suspension).

The fifth-seeded Muguruza is up first on Court Philippe Chatrier against No. 27 Yulia Putintseva.

How right those folks were.

But Mladenovic played superbly on the big points, pumping her fist and screaming after every one, and Muguruza's resistance wilted in a poor final game.

Muguruza broke down in tears during her press conference and had to leave the room for a couple of minutes before returning.

A year after showing so much resolve while winning the French Open, Muguruza fell apart down the stretch of what became a 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 loss Sunday to the 13th-seeded Mladenovic, who reached the quarterfinals at her home major for the first time.

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"Everything wasn't flawless. There were a few concerns", Mladenovic said, before joking: "I made about 35 double-faults today, but everything's OK!"

Seeded winners in the women's third round: No. 4 Garbine Muguruza, No. 8 Svetlana Kuznetsova, No. 10 Venus Williams, No. 13 Kristina Mladenovic, No. 23 Sam Stosur, No. 30 Timea Bacsinszky.

But the Spaniard has been repeatedly answering questions recently about whether expectations are different now that she is a major champion and whether that sort of pressure might affect her on court.

1994 " The last time three French women reached the fourth round at Roland Garros.

"I knew I had to change something to beat him today, so I think I made some adjustments to make little better than yesterday". And we're in the quarterfinals.

Three more wins would see her become the first home victor of a singles title at Roland Garros since Mary Pierce in 2000, but there must be some concern over how much physical and emotional energy she has expended.

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Mladenovic could have company in the quarterfinals, though: Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia plays her fourth-round match Monday.

It was the second year in a row the Swiss had beaten Williams in the fourth round.

Williams, who turns 37 this month, earned all of those titles at Wimbledon or the U.S. Open.

Pliskova, who had won just twice in five previous French Open appearances before this year, will face Paraguay's Veronica Cepede Royg for a quarter-final spot. "He's, in my opinion, one of the best players in the world, you know, when he's fit and healthy", said Murray, the runner-up at Roland Garros a year ago.

Nine-time champion Rafael Nadal surged into the French Open quarter-finals, railroading compatriot Roberto Bautista Agut 6-1 6-2 6-2 in the fourth round on Sunday.

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