FRANCE TENNIS FRENCH OPEN 2018 GRAND SLAM
Samantha Stosur has cast friendship aside to roar into the French Open third round for the 10th year in a row.
Australia's former finalist and four-time semi-finalist is once again through to the last 32 in Paris without dropping a set after defeating her doubles partner, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, 6-2 7-6 (7-0) on Thursday.
A winner of the Strasbourg International on Sunday, Pavlyuchenkova had been riding a six-match winning streak on the European clay.
But the 30th seed was unable to cope with Stosur's forepower in a tight tussle ultimately decided on the Australian's racquet.
Six double-faults from Stosur in the second set kept Pavlyuchenkova in the contest, but the Russian frazzled when the former US Open champion turned up the heat.
From 3-5 down in the second set, Stosur turned the screws, forced a tiebreaker and raced through it for the lost of just one point to seal victory with a scorching forehand pass after one hour and 38 minutes.
It was an inspired performance under immense pressure from Stosur, who is trying to defend the swag of rankings points amassed for reaching the fourth round last year.
Defeat for Stosur - a day after fist-pumping her way into the doubles second round with Pavlyuchenkova - would have sent Australia's only grand slam singles winner in the past 15 years spiralling out of the world's top 100.
But the 34-year-old rose to the occasion in hot and fizzing conditions that have proven so much to her liking since making her breakout run to the semi-finals for the first time a decade ago.
Stosur, who struck 27 winners and broke Pavlyuchenkova five times, is making no secret of her enduring love affair with Roland Garros.
"The courts, they're just so good," Stosur said.
"Hitting here, everything feels crisp out of the racquet. It's just got a different feeling here.
"It's got a different buzz about it. All the slams do but, for me playing here, definitely it's somewhere where I've probably had most of my best wins of my career, so I always love coming back."
Stosur will play world No.3 Garbine Muguruza in a sequel to the pair's semi-final two years ago, which the Spaniard won en route to claiming her maiden grand slam crown.