Stosur dashes into Strasbourg quarters

Darren Walton
Samantha Stosur has enjoyed a straight sets win over Daria Gavrilova in Strasbourg

Samantha Stosur has showcased her French Open credentials with an emphatic straight-sets victory over fellow Australian Daria Gavrilova at the Strasbourg International.

In a rematch of last year's final, Stosur made a mockery of form and rankings to outclass the second-seeded Gavrilova 6-3 6-4 for her 13th consecutive win at the clay-court event she's fast making her own.

The two-time champion reeled off five straight games in the second set to storm into her second quarter-final of the year.

Stosur last lost in Strasbourg way back in 2005.

Despite her unflattering ranking of No.60 in the world following a four-month injury lay-off last year and slow start to 2018, Tennis Australia's head of performance Wally Masur is warning fans not to write the veteran off as a French Open threat.

Australia's only grand slam singles winner in more than a decade and a half, Stosur enters the clay-court major starting in Paris on Sunday unseeded for the first time since 2008.

Since then, she's made the semi-finals four times - most recently in 2016 when she upset now-world No.1 Simona Halep - and lost the 2010 title decider to Francesca Schiavone.

Pointing to the late-career renaissance of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, Masur believes if Stosur is to enjoy her own Indian summer, it will be at Roland Garros.

"This is her time. There's been very rarely a red clay season where she hasn't played well," he told AAP.

"And I think, without putting too fine a point on it, it's a pretty important time for her.

"She's 60th in the world now, she's got Strasbourg (rankings points) to defend, plus fourth round of the French (last year), so it's kind of game on.

That puts a little bit of pressure on you going in. But it has, historically, been a great surface for her."

The 2011 US Open champion habitually excels in Paris, where the courts suit her high-spinning forehand and deadly second-serve kicker - especially on hot and sunny days.

In the absence of grand slam heavyweights Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova and other big guns dropping like flies, many were tipping Stosur to reign last year before an untimely stress fracture in her right hand cruelled her chances.

The one-time world No.4 had been leading surprise eventual champion Jelena Ostapenko 4-0 after just 13 minutes in their last-16 clash until disaster struck.

Instead of a thrashing for Ostapenko, the Latvian cashed in on Stosur's misfortune to rewrite tennis history as the vanquished Queenslander wondered what might have been during her injury layoff.

"If she's ever going to win another grand slam, it will be at the French Open," Masur said.

Stosur next plays Slovakian Dominika Cibulkova for a place in the Strasbourg semi-finals.