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Serena rolls into last eight of French Open on Day 11

PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 01: Serena Williams of the United States hits a forehand during the Ladies Singles fourth round match against Elina Svitolina of Ukraine on day eleven of the 2016 French Open at Roland Garros on June 1, 2016 in Paris, France. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
June 1, 2016 03:03 PM

By Ashley Marshall, USTA.com

With storm clouds and gray skies nowhere to be seen over the French capital on Wednesday, world No. 1 Serena Williams continued her quest for history on the red clay of Roland Garros.

Playing her first match in four days because of rain delays and cancellations, Williams powered through to the quarterfinals of the French Open with a 6-1, 6-1 thrashing of 18th-seeded Elina Svitolina.

Williams recorded eight aces and 27 winners compared to 17 unforced errors, 12 of which came from the backhand wing. She capitalized on six of eight break-point opportunities while saving seven of eight break points on her own racquet to book her place among the final eight.

She will now play world No. 60 Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan on Thursday, with the winner of that match set to face either unseeded Kiki Bertens or No. 8 seed Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland in the final four.

The American has faced 21-year-old Putintseva twice before, beating her 7-6, 6-1 in the round of 64 in Madrid in 2013 and toppling her, 7-6, 6-0, in the third round of Indian Wells earlier this spring.

The last remaining representative of Team USA in either the men’s or women’s draw, Williams has been ruthlessly efficient through the first 11 days in Paris. She dropped just five combined games in a pair of straight-sets victories over Magdalena Rybarikova and Teliana Pereira in the first two rounds before being pushed to a 6-4, 7-6 win over French world No. 26 Kristina Mladenovic in Round 3.

Competing in her 15th French Open, the top seed is looking to win the title for the third time in four years and for the fourth time overall. Should Williams lift the Coupe Suzanne Langlen on Sunday, she would tie Graf’s record of 22 women’s Grand Slam singles titles in the Open era.

The 34-year-old tasted victory at Roland Garros for the first time in 2002, setting the stage for the first of two ‘Serena Slams’ over the next eight months. Williams won again in Paris in 2013 and for a third time last summer.

Elsewhere on Day 11 in Paris, Shelby Rogers' dream run came to an end with a 7-5, 6-3 quarterfinal loss to No. 4 seed and 2014 Wimbledon runner-up Garbine Muguruza, 7-5, 6-3. (Due to the rain, the bottom half of the draw was a round ahead of the top half, which features Serena.) Rogers, a 23-year-old American ranked No. 108 coming into Roland Garros, defeated No. No. 17 seed Karolina Pliskova, No. 10 Petra Kvitova and No. 25 seed Irina-Camelia Begu en route to a place in the final eight.

In fourth-round matches completed Wednesday, No. 9 seed Venus Williams fell to Bacsinszky, 6-2, 6-4, and Madison Keys lost to Bertens, 7-6 (4), 6-3.