Kuznetsova beats Kerber to reach French quarters

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Svetlana Kuznetsova, of Russia, reacts as she plays Germany's Angelique Kerber during their fourth round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium Sunday, June 2, 2013 in Paris. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

PARIS (AP) — Former champion Svetlana Kuznetsova earned a berth in the quarterfinals at the French Open by beating Angelique Kerber 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 Sunday.

Ranked 39th and unseeded, Kuznetsova has reached the final eight in back-to-back major tournaments for the first time since 2009, when she won the title at Roland Garros. She reached the quarterfinals at the Australian Open in January before losing.

Kuznetsova whacked a forehand winner on match point, then let out a jubilant scream. The two-time major champion improved to 12-2 this year in three-set matches, and her winning percentage of .820 (41-9) at Roland Garros is the best among active players.

She'll next face the winner of the match between No. 1-seeded Serena Williams and No. 15 Roberta Vinci.

In men's play, David Ferrer reached the quarterfinals for the sixth Grand Slam in a row by beating Kevin Anderson 6-3, 6-1, 6-1. Ferrer, seeded No. 4, converted six of 17 break-point chances, held every service game and committed only 11 unforced errors to 41 for Anderson, seeded No. 23.

When the Spaniard closed out the victory, he looked to the blue sky and raised both fists. His next opponent will be the winner of the match between two fellow Spaniards, No. 11 Nicolas Almagro or No. 32 Tommy Robredo.

Ferrer has won four matches without dropping a set. He's a four-time major semifinalist, including at Roland Garros last year.

On Saturday, No. 1-ranked Novak Djokovic endured a dramatic mood change after beating Grigor Dimitrov 6-2, 6-3, 6-3 to reach the fourth round.

When Djokovic got back to the locker room, his team delivered the news that his first coach, Jelena Gencic, had died in Serbia at the age of 76. She coached him for about five years, starting when Djokovic was 6.

It was the second time in a little more than a year that Djokovic has been hit by a personal loss during a tournament.

At the Monte Carlo Masters in April 2012, he learned of his grandfather's death and decided to keep playing, winning his third-round match just hours later. He reached the final there.

On Saturday, word was sent to reporters that Djokovic was too distraught to attend a post-match news conference.

He is scheduled to play his fourth-round match against 16th-seeded Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany on Monday, when seven-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal hopes to celebrate his 27th birthday with a win against 13th-seeded Kei Nishikori.

Nadal overcome another sloppy start to get past 27th-seeded Fabio Fognini of Italy 7-6 (5), 6-4, 6-4.

"I really need to play better," Nadal said. "Otherwise I can go back to Mallorca and go fishing."

Tommy Haas let a record 12 match points slip in the fourth set, then saved a match point in the fifth en route to eliminating big-serving American John Isner 7-5, 7-6 (4), 4-6, 6-7 (10), 10-8 in 4 hours, 37 minutes.

Nishikori became the first Japanese man in 75 years to reach the French Open's fourth round, beating Frenchman Benoit Paire.

"He's a fantastic player," Nadal said. "He can play very aggressive."