PARIS, France - Sam Stosur brought big serves, big forehands and even some trick shots onto Court Philippe Chatrier on Thursday, beating Kristina Mladenovic in straight sets in the second round of the French Open. Awaiting her in the third round will be one of her personal nemeses, however.
Both players played clean, aggressive tennis - Stosur had 26 winners to 22 unforced, Mladenovic 25 winners to 22 unforced - but in the end the No.9-seeded Stosur was just too good, winning, 64 63.
"Overall I was very pleased with the way I played," Stosur said after the match. "I thought the first set was good quality from both of us. That 5-4 game was obviously really important for me to kind of get a real hold on the match, and I played some good points. And then I was able to break early in the second set and really felt like I kicked on from there. I thought it was a nice, solid performance today."
"I'm a little bit between two options," Mladenovic said. "Of course I'm a little bit disappointed with the result, because I was really looking forward to winning this match, but there are many positives as well, because I realized at the end of the match that Sam played a really, really solid match today. It's just impressive, especially the serve. It was about one break in each set. There are many positives."
The shot of the day came in the last game of the first set, when Stosur hit a laser-like forehand reflex volley past Mladenovic for a winner - the Frenchwoman had on a look of disbelief afterwards.
"I got a little bit lucky with that volley, or whatever the thing was down the line!" Stosur said. "I ran in thinking she would drop shot, and she didn't drop shot. I don't know what grip I had, what I did or where it landed - I don't know anything. It was very, very lucky, but obviously at a really important time."
"Obviously it was not on purpose, but it was an amazing reflex," Mladenovic said. "That point was amazing. My shot was going so fast and she just went for the right side and put this ball in so fast on the line. It's an unbelievable shot. I think she probably won't do this shot again in her life.
"It was amazing for the crowd. I think we both laughed because it was just an unbelievable one."
There was a long rain delay mid-way through the second set, but upon resumption, Stosur promptly closed it out. The World No.9 talked about what it takes to ride those waves when the rain hits.
"I saw that really dark cloud coming over and it wasn't looking good, and then I thought it almost went past and maybe we're going to be okay. But I think on days like this you have to be aware that that can happen. I think the biggest thing is not to kind of rush out there, or think you have to be quick and get off before the rain. You've just got to keep doing what you're doing. If it happens it happens."
Jankovic leads Stosur in their head-to-head series, 6-2. They are tied 1-1 on clay, with Stosur winning very routinely in the semifinals here in 2010 but Jankovic winning in Stuttgart earlier this year.
"It's always tough playing Jelena," Stosur said. "We played about four or five weeks ago in Stuttgart and she beat me there. We played in the semis here in 2010. So we certainly played enough times on all different surfaces. I'm certainly expecting a tough match - I have to be ready to work hard, and hopefully play as well as, if not better, than what I have been doing so far this week. We'll see."