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Federer and Djokovic Win at French Open, No. 3 Zvonareva Upset

Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic stayed on course for a French Open semifinal showdown as both won easily today. Women’s third seed Vera Zvonareva lost, while defending champion Francesca Schiavone advanced.

Federer moved to a record 28th consecutive major quarterfinal by beating fellow Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka, 6-3, 6-2, 7-5 on a sunny day on the main Court Philippe Chatrier at Roland Garros in Paris. His ninth defeat of Wawrinka in 10 meetings means he breaks the record for most consecutive Grand Slam quarterfinals previously held with Jimmy Connors.

“I thought I played well,” Federer, who came back from 4-1 down in the third set to win the match with his 8th ace, told a news conference. “The first two sets were great.”

The second-seeded Djokovic extended his perfect start to the season to 41-0 as he beat France’s Richard Gasquet 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 in the fourth round.

The upsets continued in the women’s draw, where Zvonareva, the highest-ranked player left in the last sixteen, lost to fellow Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, 7-6 (7-4), 2-6, 6-2. It’s the first time since tennis turned professional in 1968 that none of the top three women’s seeds have advanced to the quarterfinals at Roland Garros.

‘More Aggressive’

“She played a little bit more aggressive, she took more risk, and she was able to dictate the points,” Zvonareva told a news conference. “Every time I was taking the risk, I wasn’t so consistent. That’s why I was playing a little bit too passive. It’s not acceptable at this stage of the Grand Slam.”

Djokovic of Serbia can tie John McEnroe’s 27-year-old record of 42 straight victories at the start of a season if he wins his next match.

“I am very happy with my play today,” Djokovic told the Chatrier crowd in French after his win. “I knew that Richard is a great player and he’s been playing really well. I am definitely playing the best tennis of my life. I am staying focused each match and will see how far I can go.”

Australian Open champion Djokovic, who will take the No. 1 ranking on the ATP World Tour away from defending French Open champion Rafael Nadal if he makes the final, plays Fabio Fognini in the quarterfinals.

The unseeded Italian overcame cramp in his leg and five match points to beat Spain’s Albert Montanes, 4-6, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 11-9 in a match that lasted 4 hours, 22 minutes.

Grand Slam Record

Although he has yet to drop a set this year at Roland Garros, the third-seeded Federer has been overshadowed by five-time champion Nadal of Spain and Djokovic. Federer, who claimed his lone French Open title in 2009, last won a major at the 2010 Australian Open. That victory extended his title haul to a men’s record 16 Grand Slam trophies.

David Ferrer, the No. 5 seed from Spain, faces France’s Gael Monfils later today. The winner of that match plays Federer in the quarterfinals.

No. 4 Victoria Azarenka of Belarus is now as the highest seed left in the women’s draw after top-ranked Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark lost in the third round and No. 2 Kim Clijsters of Belgium exited the clay-court Grand Slam event in the second round.

Zvonareva, a finalist at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, had led 5-3 in the first set against the 14th-seeded Pavlyuchenkova, who is the youngest woman left in the draw at age 19. The teenager, in the first Grand Slam quarterfinal of her career, will play Schiavone of Italy, who beat three-time semifinalist Jelena Jankovic of Serbia 6-3, 2-6, 6-4. It was Schiavone’s first victory against Jankovic since 2004.

Also today, Svetlana Kuznetsova, the 2009 champion and one of six Russian women in the last 16, plays Daniela Hantuchova, the No. 28 seed from Slovakia who knocked Wozniacki out of the tournament.

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