Stosur final Aussie in French Open singles
2 June 2017
TENNIS: Samantha Stosur has bossed her way into the French Open third round with a claycourt masterclass in Paris
Mixing awesome firepower with sublime touch, Australia’s big title hope outclassed Belgian Kirsten Flipkens 6-2 7-6(6) in one hour and 33 minutes on Wednesday.
The impressive victory over the one-time world No.13 vaulted Stosur into the last 32 at Roland Garros for the ninth straight year and extended the former runner-up’s winning streak on the surface to seven matches.
Flipkens had beaten Stosur before on grass, but it was obvious from the very first point that the Belgian wouldn’t cope with the Australian’s brutal, high-spinning groundstrokes on the European red dirt.
Pushing Flipkens deeper and deeper beyond the baseline, Stosur conjured two break points in the opening game of the match.
Flipkens displayed some extraordinary counter-punching to hang tough from 15-40 two service games in a row before Stosur finally broke the world No.87 on her sixth chance.
Soaring in confidence, Stosur skipped to the changeover, held her next game to love before breaking Flipkens again with a running topspin lob and uncontrollable forehand to charge 5-2 ahead.
The 24th seed dropped just two points on serve all set, taking it in 33 minutes before starting the second in similar fashion.
Her only lapse of the match came in the fourth game, overcooking a forehand to offer Flipkens a lifeline.
But Stosur broke straight back before forcing a second-set tiebreaker.
The Strasbourg International winner saved a set point with a booming backhand return pass before crunching her 21st forehand winner to clinch victory on her first match point.
Stosur will play American qualifier Bethanie Mattek-Sands at 8.30pm AEST tonight for a spot in the fourth round.
In the mens' singles, Australia’s last man standing Nick Kyrgios crashed out of the season’s second Grand Slam in Paris with a 5-7 6-4 6-1 6-2 second-round loss to tough South African Kevin Anderson on Thursday.
Kyrgios entered the tournament under a fitness cloud – and hip and shoulder niggles undoubtedly contributed to his demise as the 22-year-old coughed up an uncharacteristic nine double-faults in the four-set defeat.
After dominating early and in one game delivering an extraordinary four straight aces, Kyrgios’s serve faltered when it became apparent that hip and shoulder complaints made it impossible to extract any leg drive and follow through for his most lethal weapon.
But it was emotional torment that undermined Kyrgios’s campaign.
“After my grandpa passing, I just lost a lot of motivation to do anything, really,” Kyrgios admitted after the match.
“But I haven’t really put together any good training in the last couple weeks. Obviously, just trying to manage some niggles.
“So I don’t think I was match-ready to play best-of-five sets, but he played well today. So he was too good.”
However Kyrgios's French Open run isn't over yet, after he joined fellow Aussie Jordan Thompson in the men's double for a dominating 7-6(8) 4-6 6-3 dismissal of French second seeds Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut on Wednesday.
Kyrgios and Thompson return to the court at 9.45pm tonight to take on Germany in round two.
In the women's doubles, Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua made a strong start to their French Open campaign, scoring a comprehensive first round victory.
The three-time Grand Slam finalists, who have reunited this season, only needed 47 minutes to beat French wildcards Virginie Razzano and Marine Partaud 6-0 6-2.
The pair, who reached the Australian Open quarterfinals in January, now face No.18-seeded Japanese duo Eri Hozumi and Miyu Kato, semifinalists at the Australian Open, in the second round at 8pm AEST tomorrow.
It was a good day for Australian women in doubles yesterday, with everyone in action scoring wins.
Daria Gavrilova and her Russian partner Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova upset fourth seeds Sania Mirza of India and Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazahkstan 7-6(5) 1-6 6-2.
Anastasia Rodionova and Croatian Darija Jurak, the No.17 seeds, defeated German combination Carina Witthoeft and Mona Barthel 6-2 2-6 6-4.
Ajla Tomljanovic teamed with Serbia’s Aleksandra Krunic to beat Russians Natela Dzalamidze and Veronika Kudermetova 6-2 6-4.
Unfortunately Sam Stosur and Chinese partner Shuai Zhang went down to ninth seeds Gabriela Dabrowski (Canda) and Yifan Xu (China) 6-2 6-3.