Barty powers into Strasbourg semi-finals

Darren Walton
Barty powers into Strasbourg semi-finals

Top seed Ashleigh Barty and two-time champion Samantha Stosur remain on course for an all-Australian title showdown at the Strasbourg International.

Living up to her star billing, Barty advanced to her maiden WTA clay-court singles semi-final with a 7-5 6-4 victory over the Peter McNamara-coached Qiang Wang on Thursday night.

Chasing her 14th straight win in Strasbourg, Stosur faces Slovakian fifth seed Dominika Cibulkova in her quarter-final on Friday morning after downing Fed Cup teammate Daria Gavrilova 6-3 6-4 in the second round.

Boding well ahead of Sunday's French Open start, neither Barty or Stosur have dropped a set this week.

After crushing Frenchwoman Pauline Parmentier for the loss of just four games, Barty had to recover from a service break down in the second set to see off Wang in one hour and 28 minutes.

The world No.17 will play third seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova on Friday for a spot in Saturday's title decider after the Russian beat Kazakh Zarina Diyas, 6-4 6-2.

Stosur and second-seeded Gavrilova share the same manager, same sponsor and were sharing the same outfit on the same court in their latest showdown.

Little wonder Gavrilova was left lamenting the same outcome as last year's final, too.

"It's tough to play a teammate and a friend. Unfortunately we've played way too many times this year, but we both go out there and try and do our best," Gavrilova said.

"Pretty much we don't have secrets. She knows me well, her coach knows me well and it's the same for me; I know her game pretty well."

Wednesday's was their third encounter in 2018, with Stosur again avenging her second-round loss to Gavrilova in Sydney with a second consecutive defeat of the 23-year-old on clay.

The former French Open finalist also beat Gavrilova in Prague this month, though the vanquished was forced to retire early in the deciding set after injuring her ankle.

This time Gavrilova conceded she had no answer to Stosur's ferocious firepower.

"She was playing well and she was serving huge today," Gavrilova said.

"At first today, I was thinking this speed (clock) thing is not working.

"But then I compared her speed to mine and I thought she was playing really big today."

Barty's progression and the Stosur-Gavrilova sequel left the French press wondering if the Australians held their annual general meeting at the tournament.

"We play many tournaments all the same. But, for some reason, I think Australians like being here," Stosur said.

"And like last year, we're getting through the rounds, which is a good feeling, and hope we can keep it going."