Sharapova ends Stosur’s French Open

Defending champion Maria Sharapova has ended Samantha Stosur’s French Open campaign with a straight-sets third-round win over Australia’s former finalist.

Too powerful off the ground, second-seeded Sharapova won 6-3 6-4 in one hour and 40 minutes on a blustery afternoon at Roland Garros to edge ever closer to a third title in four years.

It was Sharapova’s 13th success in 15 encounters with Stosur, whose exit leaves young guns Thanasi Kokkinakis and 29th seed Nick Kyrgios as the last Australian singles survivors at Roland Garros.

Kokkinakis plays world No.1 Novak Djokovic on Saturday, while Kyrgios takes on third seed Andy Murray.

Out to atone for a three-set fourth-round loss last year to Sharapova, Stosur made a statement on the opening point of the match, rifling a high-voltage backhand winner down the line to place the titleholder on early notice.

Stosur was unable to convert from love-30 in the first game, but three unforced errors from Sharapova handed the Australian the first service break for a 2-1 lead.

She gave it straight back, though, double-faulting and floating a slice long, and then dropped serve for a second straight time to fall behind 4-2.

Sharapova invited Stosur back into the set with three double-faults of her own in the next game, only to hit straight back with an angled backhand winner and scorching forehand crosscourt return on break point.

Stosur saved one set point with an advancing forehand winner, but there was no denying the Russian as she closed out an error-riddled first set after 40 minutes.

Stosur thought she’d secured an early break in the second set, only to find an all-or-nothing forehand return narrowly missed the line.

Sharapova safely held after the let-off and, despite raising her game, Stosur was unable to crack the world No.2 and dropped her own serve with another double-fault in the seventh game.

Sharapova recovered from a mid-match coughing fit to hold twice more and prevailed on her third match point to set up a fourth-round meeting on Sunday with 13th-seeded Czech Lucie Safarova.

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