Veronika Kudermetova notched a career milestone at the French Open on Saturday, though not in the way she might've liked. She's through to the last 16 of a Grand Slam for the first time in her career after No.3 Paula Badosa retired from their third round match due to a right calf injury.
Turning point: Badosa took a medical timeout on her right leg after losing five straight games from 2-0 in the first set, and after falling a break behind in the second, she retired from the match trailing 6-3, 2-1.
Badosa had previously beaten Kudermetova twice this year, in Indian Wells and Madrid, with the loss of just eight combined games in the two matches.
With No.7 seed Aryna Sabalenka exiting at the hands of Italy's Camila Giorgi moments prior to Badosa shaking hands, world No.1 Iga Swiatek in the sole Top 10 player to make it through the French Open's first three rounds.
The victory is Kudermetova's fourth career win against a Top 5 player, albeit in abridged fashion. Her three previous wins against that level of opposition all came on hard courts. She reached the third round of the French Open in 2019, and matched that best result with back-to-back showings at the Australian Open in the last two years.
To further stretch her best-ever major run, Kudermetova will next face No.22 seed Madison Keys for a spot in the quarterfinals. Keys outlasted No.16 seed Elena Rybakina in the last women's match of the day, coming through in a match tiebreak, 3-6, 6-1, 7-6(3). The American was two points from defeat serving in the 12th game of the decider, which saw neither woman lost serve, but she won 12 of the last 15 points; that string included eight straight.
Assessing the crucial moments that decided the match in victory, Keys said: "I really just tried to focus on making as many balls as I could, tried to stay in rallies, and waited for the right opportunity to go for my shots. Being able to make a second week means so much, and I'm so happy I get to stay in Paris a little bit longer."
There are five American women among the last 16.
Stat of the day: The win was also Keys' first career win at the French Open from a set down. She improves her career record to 1-8 in such scenarios. Keys and Kudermetova have never played.