AAP Tennis

Barty eyes Strasbourg after Rome exit

By AAP Newswire

Ashleigh Barty will call on happy Strasbourg memories in her final hit-out before arriving at the French Open later this month as a top-eight seed.

Barty was beaten 6-2 6-3 by Kristina Mladenovic in the Italian Open round of 16 - only Barty's fifth loss in a year that has seen the Australian climb inside the world's top eight.

Barty will play the Strasbourg Open next week, where she has notched quarter and semi-final appearances in the past two years.

The 23-year-old had fought back from a set down to reach the final 16 in Rome but had no answer to the French underdog on Friday morning.

Mladenovic controlled the 75-minute contest, with Barty slow out of the blocks and never able to recover her ground on the Italian clay.

Next up in the last eight for Mladenovic is Maria Sakkari after the Greek saw off second-seeded Petra Kvitova.

The Czech was forced to retire with Sakkari leading 7-5 5-7 4-0.

Victoria Azarenka qualified for the quarters when her opponent Garbine Muguruza pulled out of their match due to injury.

The Spaniard, who had just played her second-round encounter hours earlier, felt pain in her left thigh forcing her to withdraw while trailing 6-4 3-1 to the Belarussian.

After knocking out seventh-seed Sloane Stephens earlier in the day, Johanna Konta backed it up with a straight sets win over Venus Williams.

The Brit needed just 72 minutes to edge her American opponent 6-2 6-4, setting up a meeting with Czech Marketa Vondrousova who beat Daria Kasatkina in three sets.

Vondrousova, 19, reached the third round after defeating world No.2 Simona Halep 2-6 7-5 6-3 earlier in the day.

In another third-round encounter, Kiki Bertens clinched a hard-fought 6-4 1-6 6-3 win over Carla Suarez Navarro.

It was Bertens' second match of the day after her earlier 6-2 4-6 7-5 second-round victory over Amanda Anisimova.

In her bid for a second trophy this year, the Dutch player was drawn to take on world No.1 Naomi Osaka.

The Japanese made it safely through to the quarter-finals winning both her matches in straight-sets.

She defeated Slovakia's Dominika Cibulkova 6-3 6-3 before sinking Romanian Mihaela Buzarnescu by the same scoreline.

However, she has been forced to withdraw due to a right hand injury.