ROLAND GARROS, France - No.23 seed Samantha Stosur notched up her eighth consecutive win with a straightforward 6-2, 6-2 victory over qualifier Bethanie Mattek-Sands, moving into the second week of the French Open for the sixth time in her career.
The Australian, a Roland Garros finalist in 2010 and a semifinalist in 2009, 2012 and 2016, is riding high at the moment following a title last week at the Internationaux de Strasbourg, and she showed no sign of letting her red-hot form slip today.
Stosur had played her American opponent just once before, at Wimbledon in 2009. The 33-year-old Australian was the victor there 6-4, 6-7(6), 6-2, and she also got off to the better start today, winning 12 of the first 14 points to spring out to a double break lead.
It didn't get much better for the American, who had last reached the second week of a Slam with her fourth-round showing here in 2013. She stuck to the high-risk, aggressive strategy that had paid dividends in the previous round against Petra Kvitova, but was misfiring too much, racking up 36 unforced errors in total.
Mattek-Sands was particularly vulnerable on serve, winning just four points on her second serve in the whole match as Stosur pummelled her returns deep. It took the qualifier until the seventh game of the match to win a service game - and that would be her sole hold of the match.
The 32-year-old's best chance to get a foothold in the encounter came in the third game of the second set, when she showcased both her serve-and-volley strategy and some feathery touch at net. But after fighting through seven deuces, yet another errant forehand handed the break back to Stosur.
For her part, the Australian did a fine job of keeping Mattek-Sands at bay with her trademark kick serves and heavy, topspin forehand - and her reward is a fourth-round meeting with 19-year-old Jelena Ostapenko.
Afterwards, Stosur attributed her win to playing the big points better: "I felt like every time she maybe had a bit of an opportunity or something like that, I was able to play a bit better and, yeah, kind of squash that and then get myself ahead again."
As for her overall relationship with a tournament where she's experienced disappointment on the big stage but also a great deal of success, the Australian said: "I guess it would be a nice, romantic love story where there's hopefully still a great finish at the end."