Stosur storms into French Open third round
TENNIS: SAM Stosur refuses to be seduced by opportunity after the Queenslander stormed into the French Open's third-round, extending her winning streak to seven.
Now an emerging favourite in a depleted top half of the draw after a clinical 6-2 7-6 (8-6) over Belgian Kirsten Flipkens, Stosur is wary of Bethanie Mattek Sands, her next opponent.
With world No 1 Angelique Kerber and dual Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova eliminated from her quarter, Stosur is increasingly favoured to reach her fifth Roland Garros semi-final.
But she's not buying the hype.
"To be honest, I still haven't seen the draw. I obviously know that Petra just lost and now I play Bethanie," she said.
"But, look, I've got to play my next opponent no matter who it is.
"I know Bethanie is going to be tough, as well. She's in the third round, so she's obviously playing well. And she's going to be another one of those opponents that doesn't necessarily play like most of the girls on tour.
"She will come into the net, she's going to try and play big, she'll do a few different things.
"Again, I will probably be focused on what I want to be doing and stick to that and try and do it as best we did."
With victory last week in Strasbourg and four previous deep runs here, US Open winner Stosur is shaping promisingly to deliver a second major title.
Kvitova was rolled 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-5) by qualifier Mattek-Sands, further opening up the draw, while dangerous Ekaterina Makarova also perished.
Stosur was too accomplished for Flipkens, smoking 33 winners and only 16 unforced errors.
She smothered Flipkens with power and accuracy early but couldn't convert any of six break points in the Belgian's first two service games.
Continuing to attack relentlessly, Stosur was rewarded in the fifth game, when Flipkens cracked with a wild forehand volley to drop serve for the first time.
Growing in confidence as she dominated from the baseline with heavy drives mixed with clever slice, Stosur broke again in the seventh game before sealing the first set in 31 minutes.
The trend shaped to continue into the second set, but Flipkens staved off another serving crisis in the opening game before turning the screws on Stosur.
In command, Stosur suddenly faltered with an unforced forehand error to trail 1-3 as the contest tightened.
But the Gold Coaster reacted to break back and square the set.
She had another break point chance at 5-all - and the right to serve out the match in straight sets - but failed.
Flipkens converted the reprieve into a 5-3 tiebreak lead and served for the set at 6-5 before Stosur clambered back on terms with a backhand pass.
A crushing forehand brought up match point for the Australian before she sealed the match in 92 minutes with another huge forehand.
"I played pretty well," Stosur said.
"Got myself in a bit of a hole in the second set but, to get through that one in straights, I'm very pleased.
"She's a very tricky opponent. She can do a bit of slice, lob, running to the net.
"I certainly went into that match knowing I probably wasn't going to get a whole lot of rhythm at times.
"I had to be aggressive but not play stupid and certainly I think I did that for the most part."
Beaten in the 2010 final here by Italian Francesca Schiavone, Stosur will lose the Australian No 1 ranking after a record 452-week reign to Daria Gavrilova unless she reaches the semi-finals.
The right-hander has reached that stage on four occasions - 2009, '10, '12 and '16.