Day eight of the French Open saw the second week of the second Grand Slam singles tournament begin in Paris, which is the business end of the tournament. The former world number eight Timea Bacsinszky defeated tenth seed Venus Williams in a three-set thriller on Court Philippe Chatrier. The 30th seed's victory over the former world number one ensures that there will be a first-time Grand Slam singles champion at the French Open.
Jelena Ostapenko defeated 2011 US Open champion Sam Stosur, Caroline Wozniacki defeated two-time Slam winner Svetlana Kuznetsova. The Swiss' quarterfinal opponent will be the 13th seed Kristina Mladenovic, who dispatched the defending French Open champion Garbine Muguruza in three sets.
Williams steals the opening set under Bacsinszky's nose
Both players started the third match on Court Philippe Chatrier with easy service holds. However, the former world number one was broken by Bacsinszky and trailed 2-1 in her next service game with a forehand winner down the line. The 30th seed consolidated a break with a helping hand from Williams, who committed unforced error after unforced error.
The set was quickly running away from the 10th seed as she continued to play erratically. The American built a 30-0 lead on her serve, and she had a couple of game points. However, the 2015 semifinalist created a break point with a drop shot winner, with Williams rooted to the baseline. Bacsinszky got the double break, she was searching for by moving Williams from side to side.
The seven-time Grand Slam singles champion didn't give up despite trailing 30-0 lead on Bacsinszky's serve, she played some good tennis with a crosscourt winner, smash, and a backhand winner down the line to pinch one of the break's back. Nonetheless, the 2015 semifinalist was able to retain her double break advantage with Williams' backhand continuing to break down, and she sealed the game with a backhand winner.
Williams was serving to stay in the first set which she did in style by serving it out to love. The Swiss were unable to serve it out, and Williams won the next consecutive two games to trail 3-5. The veteran came through a lengthy game, unscathed at 4-5.
Bacsinszky would have been pleased to have had a double break advantage, which allowed her to serve for the set a second time. However, the 30th seed didn't have it her own way, despite creating two set points, Williams saved them both. Bacsinszky committed two back-to-back forehand unforced errors, which got the American back involved in the opening set at 5-5.
The 36-year-old turns 37 in a couple of weeks, and both players were struggling to dominate the points with both players committing numerous unforced errors. The American took the lead in the match for the first time since her opening service game, with a good serve, which Bacsinszky couldn't do anything about.
The 27-year-old would have thought that she had the first set in the bag but Williams had other ideas. The Swiss number one was unable to hold onto serve, and Williams created her first set point chance with a forehand winner down the line. A tame forehand unforced error, handed the former world number one, the first set, 7-5 in exactly an hour.
Bacsinszky turns on the screw in the second set
The 2015 French Open quarterfinalist would have been bitterly disappointed to have squandered a 5-1 lead. Nonetheless, Bacsinszky got off to a flying start in the second set by breaking Williams' serve immediately.
Bacsinszky continued to use the drop shot to affect, and her backhand started to fire on all cylinders. The Swiss number one consolidated the break with a backhand winner out wide. Bacsinszky was looking to grab a double break advantage but Williams wiped it out with a good first serve and a devastating backhand winner down the line. Nonetheless, the former world number one held serve and remained in touch with Bacsinszky trailing 2-1.
The American was buoyed by holding her serve, and she restored parity in the fourth game by breaking Bacsinszky's serve. However, the match turned in the former top ten player's favour as Bacsinszky once again broke the Williams' serve, to restore her break advantage at 3-2.
Bacsinszky consolidated the break to lead 4-2. The double break was secured for the 30th seed as Williams continued to commit unforced errors. The former world number one's backhand sailed hopelessly in the net as she trailed 5-2.
The inevitable occurred as Bacsinszky held to love to send the match into a final set.
Bacsinszky shines to reach the quarterfinals for the third year in a row
It seemed as though that the gruelling clay court battle had left the former world number one feeling fatigued. Bacsinszky went on a roll as she won her fifth consecutive game by breaking the 2002 finalist's serve at the start of the final set.
Bacsinszky consolidated the break with a drop shot winner which she has been using so effectively in her matches. Unforced errors continued to spew from the seven-time Grand Slam singles champion's racquet, and a double fault handed the Swiss, two break points. The 30th seed was unable to take the first one but she got the double break, that she required with Williams' forehands continuing to desert her.
The 10th seed had a chance to retrieve one of the breaks back as she created three break points but was unable to take one of them. The game went Bacsinszky's way with Williams trying to overhit with her backhand sailing out wide, to give Bacsinszky a healthy 4-0 lead.
The American was able to stop the run of games against her with a comfortable service hold. Williams wasn't giving up as she raced to a 15-40 lead on Bacsinszky's serve. However, Bacsinszky saved them both which would have shattered the American's confidence. The Swiss' forehand continued to do the damage and she remained in a commanding position with a forehand unforced error in the net by Williams.
The seven-time Grand Slam singles champion was unable to reach back-to-back Grand Slam singles quarterfinals as she was serving to stay in the match. Bacsinszky raced out to a 0-40 lead, with three match points in hand. The 30th seed only needed one as she finished the match with a delightful drop shot winner. It was Bacsinszky's second successive victory over Venus Williams in the fourth round.
By the numbers
Williams got 67 percent of her first serves in, and the Swiss number one got 71 percent of her first serves in. The American only managed to win 57 percent of the points on her first serve, in contrast to Bacsinszky who won 55 percent. Both players produced 28 winners but where the match was won and lost, Williams committed a staggering 45 unforced errors. Bacsinszky committed 29. The former world number eight broke Williams' serve eight times out of 13, whilst the American only broke Bacsinszky's serve four times out of 12.