Stosur last Aussie women’s hope in Paris

Long-time standard bearer Samantha Stosur is once again Australia’s last survivor in the French Open women’s singles following second-round exits for European imports Daria Gavrilova and Ajla Tomljanovic.

Gavrilova retired with an abdominal strain after conceding the first set 6-1 against Germany’s 20th seed and former Wimbledon finalist Sabine Lisicki before Tomljanovic went down 6-3 6-2 to another German, 11th seed Angelique Kerber.

But Stosur extended her claycourt winning streak to seven matches on Wednesday with a crushing 6-0 6-1 win over Frenchwoman Amandine Hesse to book a showdown with Russian titleholder Maria Sharapova.

The two grand slam champions collided in the fourth round last year when Stosur stood within two games of victory before Sharapova powered through the third and deciding set 6-0 en route to her second title in Paris.

The two grand slam champions collided in the fourth round last year when Stosur stood within two games of victory before Sharapova powered through the third and deciding set 6-0 en route to her second title in Paris.

“Last year was very close and all of a sudden it was very far away,” Stosur said after reaching the last 32 in Paris for the seventh straight time.

“That’s certainly a position I’d like to try to get in again and hopefully this time if I do get in a position, it won’t fall away so quickly.

“I do feel like I’m playing well. I have had a good lead-up and now I have played another really good match here, and it’s all going to help me going into this next one.”

Gavrilova’s promising French Open campaign earlier ended in tears.

Playing under the Australian flag as she awaits citizenship, the Russian-born world No.46 took to the court despite scans revealing a one centimetre stomach muscle tear.

But after being unable to serve without pain, the 21-year-old pulled the pin 29 minutes into the match.

It was a disappointing exit for the former world junior champion who upset Sharapova in Miami this year and then conquered former champion Ana Ivanovic en route to the semi-finals this month in Rome, where she initially suffered her ab injury.

Representing Australia under similar circumstances to Gavrilova, Croatian-born Tomljanovic faces a rankings dip after failing to match her run to the fourth round in Paris last year.

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