Sam Stosur powered into the French Open quarter-finals with a 7-6 (0), 6-3 win against Simona Halep on Tuesday, adapting better to damp and heavy conditions than her higher-ranked Romanian opponent.
In a match between two former Roland Garros finalists that spanned three days and was twice suspended due to rain, the 21st-seeded Australian overcame a slow start to beat Halep for the first time in five attempts and reach the last eight for the fourth time.
The contest was halted late on Sunday due to rain, with Halep leading 5-3, the Romanian’s steady pummelling of Stosur’s weaker backhand side having paid off in the seventh game when she took the Australian’s serve on her third break point.
But Stosur, who lost the 2010 final in Paris to Italy’s Francesca Schiavone, was much the sharper when the players resumed on Tuesday.
She consistently served around 20 kph faster than her opponent and peppered the lines on both sides of the court with forehand groundstrokes that gradually wore down Halep’s defences.
She won her serve to love and then broke Halep, whose play was littered with unforced errors as she struggled with the rain-sodden conditions, to square the match at 5-5 and, after two service holds, blitzing the tiebreak 7-0.
Stosur then broke again at the start of the second set and led 3-2 until play was suspended again when steady drizzle turned heavier, dropping just one further game to close out the match.
The 32-year-old Australian will next face world number 102 Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria, who knocked out second seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland in a 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 comeback win.