Azarenka and Kuznetsova out in Paris

 

Tennis: Slovakia's Dominika Cibulkova produced one of the best performances of her career today to dump world number one Victoria Azarenka out of the French Open in the fourth round.

Azarenka, the top seed from Belarus, had survived a scare in the first round on Monday when unheralded Italian Alberta Brianti pushed her all the way, but there was no let-off today as 15th seed Cibulkova clinically completed a 6-2 7-6 (7/4) triumph in one hour 47 minutes.

Cibulkova raced through the first set on Court Suzanne Lenglen and looked to be cruising into the last eight when she established a 4-2 lead in the second.

Azarenka responded well, though, and two breaks of serve saw her turn the second set on its head. She soon led 6-5 and found herself serving to level things up at one set all.

However, Cibulkova was not about to let the Australian Open champion have it all her own way. The 23-year-old wasted no time asserting her authority in the tie-break and swiftly earned three match points.

Azarenka saved the first after an entertaining rally, but Cibulkova held her nerve and sealed a brilliant victory in style with a superb backhand crosscourt winner.

Cibulkova will face either American Sloane Stephens or Australia's Samantha Stosur - the 2010 runner-up at Roland Garros and reigning US Open champion - in the quarter-finals.

Italy's Sara Erraniis through to the quarter-finals of a second successive grand slam after putting out former French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova.

Errani, the 21st seed, was too consistent and too smart for 2009 winner Kuznetsova, who made far too many errors, particularly in the first set, before going down 6-0 7-5.

The Russian mounted a comeback after losing the first eight games and served for the second set, but she played a poor game and Errani reeled off four games in a row.

The 25-year-old has had a superb season, winning three titles, all on clay, as well as making the last eight at the Australian Open, and in the quarter-finals here she will play 10th seed Angelique Kerber.

The German's rise has been one of the stories of the past year. She was ranked outside the top 70 when she lost to Laura Robson in the opening round at Wimbledon last summer and by August had dropped out of the top 100.

But she went all the way to the semi-finals at the US Open later the same month and has not looked back.

She has already won a title in Paris this season and another in Copenhagen, and today she was too good for 21-year-old Croatian Petra Martic, coming through 6-3 7-5 on Court Suzanne Lenglen.