Eric Butorac (left) has been enjoying a successful doubles partnership with Raven Klaasen of South Africa.
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By McCarton Ackerman, USTA.com
Massachusetts native Eric Butorac surprised tennis fans earlier this year with a dream run to the men’s doubles final at the Australian Open, and he’s now one win away from reaching another Grand Slam final at the French Open.
Partnering with Timea Babos of Hungary, the veteran doubles specialist moved into the mixed doubles semifinals by defeating the all-French pair of Alize Cornet and Jonathan Eysseric, 6-4, 6-3. This matches his best mixed doubles result at a Grand Slam, as he also reached the semifinals at the 2008 US Open with fellow American Jill Craybas. Babos and Butorac will play the No. 8 seeds, Julia Goerges of Germany and Nenad Zimonjic of Serbia, in the French semis.
The 33-year-old has been enjoying a breakthrough year on tour in 2014. Partnering exclusively with Raven Klaasen of South Africa in men's doubles competition, the pair followed up their Australian Open run by winning the title at the ATP event in Memphis. They also reached the semifinals this year at ATP events in Auckland, New Zealand, and Munich, Germany. Butorac is currently ranked No. 32 in doubles.
American pros have historically excelled in mixed doubles at the French Open. In recent years, the all-American teams of Lisa Raymond and Mike Bryan (2003), and Liezel Huber and Bob Bryan (2009), have hoisted the winner’s trophy. Scott Lipsky won the event in 2011 with Casey Dellacqua of Australia, while Martina Navratilova reached the finals with Leander Paes of India in 2005 and Vania King finished as runner-up with Marcelo of Brazil in 2009.
In other matches featuring Americans on Monday, No. 15 seed Sloane Stephens lost her fourth round match to Simona Halep of Romania, 6-4, 6-3. The top seeds in the men’s doubles draw, Bob and Mike Bryan, also bowed out in the quarterfinals to No. 12 seeds Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez of Spain, 6-4, 6-2.