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U.S. women stay dominant at French Open as top seeds tumble

Cori Coco Gauff is one of several American players still active in the women's singles circuit at the 2021 French Open this weekend in Paris. Photo by Caroline Blumberg/EPA-EFE
Cori "Coco" Gauff is one of several American players still active in the women's singles circuit at the 2021 French Open this weekend in Paris. Photo by Caroline Blumberg/EPA-EFE

June 4 (UPI) -- Sofia Kenin, Coco Gauff, Jennifer Brady and Serena Williams are among several American women's tennis stars still active in the singles circuit at the 2021 French Open, as top seeds continue to exit the Grand Slam.

No. 4 Aryna Sabalenka became the top-seeded victim of the clay courts of Roland Garros on Friday in Paris. Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova beat the Belarusian 6-4, 2-6, 6-0 to advance to a fourth-round match against Belarusian Victoria Azarenka.

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Azarenka bounced American Madison Keys in straight sets in one of Friday's early third-round matches. Williams, ranked No. 8, battles fellow American Danielle Collins in another third-round match Friday afternoon in Paris.

Gauff, Brady, and Kenin joined Jessica Pegula and Sloane Stephens with second-round wins Thursday at the Grand Slam. Stephens pulled off an upset of 10th-ranked Czech Karolina Pliskova.

Americans have a strong shot to advance to the Grand Slam's final stages due to the rapid rate of exits from the world's top female players.

No. 1 Ash Barty, No. 2 Naomi Osaka, No. 3 Simona Halep and No. 12 Petra Kvitova are among the top players to withdraw from Roland Garros due to injuries or for other reasons.

"It's really disappointing to end like this," Barty told reporters Thursday. "I've had my fair share of tears this week. Everything happens like a reason and there'll be a silver lining in this eventually.

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"Once I find out what that is, it will make me feel a little bit better."

Sabalenka, No. 7 Bianca Andreescu, Pliskova, No. 11 Belinda Bencic and No. 13 Garbine Muguruza all lost in the tournament.

Kenin, ranked No. 5, is the top player left in the field. She is one of just four players ranked inside the Top-13 still active in the singles circuit.

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Ukrainian Elina Svitolina, Williams and defending champion Iga Swiatek of Poland are the other top players still active in Paris. Svitolina is No. 6 and Swiatek is No. 9, respectively, in the WTA rankings.

This year marks the first time since the start of the WTA rankings in 1975 that the fourth round of the French Open won't feature a Top-4 player.

The first series of men's and women's third-round matches at the 2021 French Open air from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. EDT Friday on the Tennis Channel.

The second window of third-round matches is from 5 a.m. to 3 p.m. EDT Saturday on the Tennis Channel and from noon to 2 p.m. on NBC. Additional third-round coverage airs from 2 to 6 p.m. on Peacock.

The first series of fourth-round matches airs from 5 a.m. to noon EDT Sunday on the Tennis Channel, from noon to 2 p.m. on NBC and from 2 to 6 p.m. on Peacock.

Moments from Serena Williams' career

Serena Williams returns the ball to her sister, Venus, during their match at the Lipton Tennis Championship in Key Biscayne, Fla., on March 28, 1998. Venus Williams, defeated her sister 6-1, 4-6, 6-4. Photo by Susan Knowles/UPI | License Photo

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