Tennis: Stosur compared with men again

Samantha Stosur's powerful kick-serve continues to trouble her opponents at the French Open, with second-round victim Kristina Mladenovic the latest to feel like she was facing a man.

Stosur overcame a tough early battle and a rain delay to win 6-4 6-3 on Thursday and set up a third-round showdown with Serbian 18th seed Jelena Jankovic.

While the Australian world No.9's opening-round victory over Kimiko Date-Krumm was effectively a stroll on the clay, she had to dig deeper playing the unseeded local on Court Philippe Chatrier.

But her persistence and powerful serve ensured victory and, for the second straight year at Roland Garros, aspects of her game were compared to her male counterparts.

"Sam played a really, really solid match. It was really impressive, especially the serve,'' world No.46 Mladenovic said.

''... She was serving just amazing, I would say like a man today, really.

"I'm a little bit sad and frustrated with the (damp) conditions.

"I think it was the best for her and the worst for me. I think she's the only woman player able to hit that hard and that heavy with those conditions.''

Slovakian Dominika Cibulkova made similar comments after losing to Stosur in Paris last year while several other players and commentators have made the comparisons, meant in a complementary way.

Stosur was pleased with a solid second-round hit out heading into a clash with Jankovic, who holds a 6-3 win-loss record against the Australian.

"I thought the first set had good quality from both of us and it was very close,'' Stosur said.

"We both maybe had a couple of opportunities on serve to break early and didn't get it.

"That 5-4 game was obviously really important for me to kind of get a real hold on the match and I played some good points.''

None better than a Hail Mary volley that set up the decisive set point.

Locked in a tense first-set battle, Stosur's remarkable reflex shot zoomed past Mladenovic and just caught the baseline, before the Frenchwoman double faulted on the next point to hand Stosur the set.

"I don't know what grip I had, what I did, where it landed, I don't know anything'' Stosur said of the shot.

"It was very, very lucky, but obviously at a really important time.''

The second set was more lop-sided and Stosur was coasting towards victory before the rain arrived to halt her momentum just when she had just taken a 4-1 lead.

The players returned to court an hour-and-a-half later and there were a few nervous moments as Mladenovic tried to fight back, but Stosur held serve twice to secure the win.

The 29-year-old, a semi-finalist at Roland Garros last year, is optimistic at going deep into the draw in Paris despite a frustrating year marred by injury and form concerns.

A heavily-rain interrupted day on Thursday means fellow Australian Ashleigh Barty will have to resume her second round match on Friday morning.

The 17-year-old was matching it with Russian 12th seed Maria Kirilenko, with scores locked at 3-3 in the first set when rain forced an early end to play.

- AAP

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