Samantha Stosur has turned the tables on her horror record against fellow French Open runner-up Lucie Safarova to seal a fourth-round berth at Roland Garros.
Stosur battled for 2 hours and 22 minutes on centre court on Friday to secure the 6-3 6-7 (0-7) 7-5 victory – just her fourth against the 11th seed from 15 matches.
“It was very close right from the first game – Lucie and I typically play matches like this one,” Stosur said.
“For me to get through this one, I’m really, really happy with how I played.”
Stosur will now turn her attention to a fourth-round clash with sixth seed Simona Halep on Sunday.
Nursing a left wrist injury which prevented her from using the double-handed backhand in practice before the tournament, Stosur showed the injury is still affecting her and on occasion opted to run around her backhand in order to unleash a powerful forehand.
It proved effective, with the 21st seed hitting nine forehand winners and countless more which forced Safarova into error.
It was a booming forehand which got her out of a jam late in the second set to force a tiebreak.
Stosur unravelled in the tiebreak, making three errors on her backhand – including two which cannoned into the net – and double-faulting as Safarova took it 7-0 to secure the second set.
But the Australian made her mark on the third set swiftly, breaking the 11th seed in the second game – either side of strong holds of serve – to lead 3-0 in quick time.
Stosur gave back the break when serving to go 5-2 up, but produced crucial holds before earning two match points at 6-5.
After a lengthy rally Safarova pushed a wild forehand wide, with Stosur raising her arms in triumph.
Stosur had come out swinging in the first set, playing freely and cashing with some cheap service games.
Having been broken seven times across her first two matches, Stosur had not been able to rely on her serve to get out of trouble – but had still found a way to win.
But the 32-year-old sent down seven aces in the opening set – and 14 in total – while dropping just one point in her first three service games.
“It’s always important for me to serve that way,” she said.
“Today I did it really well. I really went after first serves and backed myself on the second.”
Stosur squandered three break points at 2-1, but was given a reprieve soon after – when a string of errors from Safarova gave her the break she needed and a 5-3 lead.
Safarova bounced back to win break points as Stosur double-faulted and found the net, but the Queenslander recovered before landing two more aces to seal the first set.
Men’s 17th seed Nick Kyrgios takes on French rival Richard Gasquet later on Friday.
He is the last remaining men’s hope, following the second-round exit of Bernard Tomic on Thursday.
Tomic lost 3-6 6-2 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (8-6) to Croatian teenager Borna Coric in arguably his best ever performance on clay.
Tomic required medical assistance early in the third set, down 2-1, and complained of feeling “dizzy and unwell” to the match umpire.
“I got a bit tired and got a bit fatigued and I felt like I was going to vomit on court,” he said.