Ostapenko ousts Konta in Rome to set up Sharapova clash

Ostapenko ousts Konta in Rome to set up Sharapova clash

Ostapenko ousts Konta in Rome to set up Sharapova clash

By winning two matches here and putting up a strong display against a top player, Konta will arrive in Paris... The Latvian's serving was a dire 33 percent, and Konta made hay with her big forehand against the second serve. "I mean, obviously she's been going deep into tournaments and has helped set up some really great matches for herself in the past year specifically, and especially on this surface", Sharapova said. Sharapova has now made back-to-back quarterfinal appearances, which is a sign she's starting to come along. She battled through three breaks before bringing together a combination of winners to hold on.

If the Latvian was feeling poorly there was no sign of it in the second set, which saw her in a much more recognisable form, hitting 14 of her trademark winners and upping her success rate on serve. Sharapova struggled to pull away, but she came away with seven breaks and grinded out yet another victory.

Konta held through the remainder of the set, but Ostapenka was in full swing now, held to love for 5-2, and served out confidently for 6-3. In the end, the former number one secured her fifth win of the set with one left to attain. Konta was also given a time violation and complained about the noise of the crowd during her service preparation. Ostapenko has won 10 of her last 12 matches on clay court.

Ostapenko will play Maria Sharapova or Daria Gavrilova in the quarter-finals. Simona Halep is next. Halep's first challenge was to reach at least the quarter-finals in Rome after her runner-up finish past year, and she was gifted that when No13 seed Madison Keys withdrew from their third-round match because of a rib injury. The Romanian can be challenged for that top ranking during the tournament by No2 seed Caroline Wozniacki.

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This will be the first match between these two players.

Sharapova will face French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko in the quarter-finals in their first-ever meeting.

In the bottom half, defending champion Elina Svitolina beat Daria Kasatkina, 0-6, 6-3, 6-2, and will next play former No1, Angelique Kerber, who beat Maria Sakkari, 6-1 6-1.

And eighth seed Venus Williams fell to Anett Kontaveit 6-2 7-6 (7-3), for her second defeat by the Estonian in as many weeks after losing to her in Madrid.

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