June 3, 2013 / 7:44 PM / 6 years ago

Azarenka eyes first semi-final spot at Roland Garros

Victoria Azarenka of Belarus celebrates defeating Francesca Schiavone of Italy during their women's singles match at the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris June 3, 2013. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

PARIS (Reuters) - Women’s third seed Victoria Azarenka roared past Italian former champion Francesca Schiavone into the quarter-finals of the French Open on Monday, winning 6-3 6-0 on Chatrier Court.

A match more notable for the wails, groans and kung-fu style yelps coming from both sides of the net featured five consecutive service breaks in the first set before Azarenka pulled clear to dominate the 2010 winner.

Belarussian Azarenka will now face Russian Mari Kirilenko chasing her first ever semi-final appearance at Roland Garros after Kirilenko beat American Bethanie Mattek-Sands 7-5 6-4.

It was a bad day for Americans with Sloane Stephens losing to defending champion Maria Sharapova and Jamie Hampton falling to Serbia’s Jelena Jankovic.

“I played Maria a lot of times,” Azarenka told reporters.

“She’s definitely improved a lot over the last couple years since she’s very motivated player.”

Kirilenko has reached her first quarter-final at Roland Garros but is troubled by a shoulder injury.

“I think it’s the cold and the heavy balls,” she said.

Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Ed Osmond

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