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BREAKING NEWS

Tennis - Expect the unexpected, clay Queen Evert says as French field shrinks

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By Ossian Shine

PARIS (Reuters) – As unusual names pepper the French Open women’s singles draw in week two, former champion Chris Evert says expect the unexpected.

With both top seeds – Naomi Osaka and Karolina Pliskova – already bounced, the American says a lack of fear among the quarter-finalists means nothing can be predicted with any certainty.

“Everything seems to going on form for the men, with the seeds winning pretty easily,” Evert, a pundit for Eurosport’s Roland Garros coverage said on Tuesday.

“The women’s draw is confused, there are upsets after upset, the top two seeds have lost. It’s really up for grabs and it’s very interesting.”

Evert, champion in Paris in seven times in a more predictable era, said the courage of the last eight here will make for a fascinating second week at the claycourt Grand Slam.

“There is so much fearlessness with the younger women, there’s no intimidation when they play a number one in the world or on a stadium court with thousands of people watching,” she said.

“They have a lot of confidence, they have a big game, they are hitting the ball big and they are consistent at the same time. It’s a delight to see and we have been waiting for this moment for a long time.”

“I… like Ash Barty, who’s won a lot of tournaments in the last year,” Evert said of the Australian. “And she has a game that can really mix it up. She’s the comeback kid, went away from tennis as she didn’t enjoy it, and now she’s back, more mature and now she’s playing better.”

Barty faces American 14th seed Madison Keys for a spot in the semi-finals on Wednesday.

Romanian champion Simona Halep meets another American Amanda Anisimova in the other top-half quarter.

Later on Tuesday the third U.S. quarter-finalist Sloane Stephens faces resurgent Brit Jo Konta, while Croatian Petra Martic plays Czech Marketa Vondrousova for a place in the last four.

(Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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