PARIS, France - Australian Open champions Sam Stosur and Zhang Shuai came back from a set down against Victoria Azarenka and Ashleigh Barty to reach the French open quarterfinals.
Stosur and Zhang, the No.5 seeds, narrowly dropped the opening set against the rock-solid Rome champions, but rallied back to win 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.
In pictures: Sweet 16: The fourth round of the 2019 French Open
“We were expecting a tough match,” Stosur said afterwards. “We obviously know Ash and Vika very well, and they can both play doubles exceptionally well.
“The first set wasn’t too bad, but the second set we changed a little bit of what we were doing. And then in the third set we were able to mix up what we were doing on Ash’s serve, because we weren’t getting close to breaking her.
“Thankfully, what we decided to do worked, and we were really in control of the match.”
The pair combined for four aces and won 74% of their first serve points, and their aggressive play rewarded them with four breaks of serve out of seven opportunities.
“We were serving very well, both of us. We held pretty well the whole match, which was very important,” Stosur said. “And then, in the important moments, we changed what we were doing just a little bit, adjusting the tactics slightly. I think that worked really well.”
Up next, the No.5 seeds will take on some familiar faces in the No.2 seeded team of Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic, in a rematch of January’s Australian Open final. Stosur and Zhang triumphed 6-3, 6-4 in the pair’s last meeting, before lifting the trophy in Melbourne.
“We know them very well,” Zhang said. “We played them in the Australian Open final, and also the US Open semifinal. We’re so excited to play against them. Always a good match, and we’ve played them in Grand Slams in the final, semis and now this time in the quarters.
“They are the best team in the world the last two years, so we will try our best and I hope we make it a great match.”
Joining them in the quarterfinals are Aryna Sabalenka and Elise Mertens, the No.6 seeds. Sabalenka and Mertens, who lifted trophies at Indian Wells and Miami earlier this season to claim the ‘Sunshine Double’, defeated Desirae Krawczyk and Jessica Pegula 7-5, 6-2 to advance.
A pair of veteran teams also advanced today, with No.4 seeds Gabriela Dabrowski and Xu Yifan defeating the all-French team of Diane Parry and Fiona Ferro, 6-1, 7-6(5) and No.7 seeds Nicole Melichar and Kveta Peschke knocking out No.10 seeds Lucie Hradecka and Andreja Klepac, 6-3, 6-2.