Samantha Stosur’s French Open love affair could yet continue, with Australia’s last remaining hope up a set and a break against world No.6 Simona Halep.
In a match stretching out over three days due to repeated rain delays, Stosur wound back the clock with a brutal display to lead 7-6 (7-0) 3-2 on Tuesday afternoon before rain hit Roland Garros again.
On offer for Stosur is a quarter-final spot against world No.2 Agnieszka Radwanska or Bulgaria’s Tsvetana Pironkova.
Stosur started the day in blistering fashion, taking out her frustrations over a two-day rain delay with a series of powerful forehands.
In a 39-minute burst, before rain again halted play, Stosur took back control of the match from her younger, more-fancied rival – coming back from a break down to claim the first set before taking the advantage in the second.
Following a brisk hold of serve, Stosur pounced on Halep’s serve with crushing forehands to level the first set at 5-5.
In the tiebreaker, she truly came alive, sweeping the Romanian in devastating fashion to win it seven points to zero.
Halep struggled to cope with Stosur’s powerful groundstokes and was routinely forced into error, while the Australian’s serve also caused problems.
Stosur continued the onslaught into the second set, earning the crucial break in the opening game to have Halep – dubbed the tournament darkhorse by three-time champion Arancha Sanchez Vicario – well and truly on the back foot.
The pair traded service games – with Stosur saving two break points – before rain halted play with Stosur up 3-2 and about to serve.
It is the third straight day in which the match – which started on Sunday – has been stalled due to rain.