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PARIS – The Latest from the French Open:
2011 U.S. Open champion Samantha Stosur is painfully aware that she's going to have to raise her game to get past Maria Sharapova in the French Open third round. The 26th-seeded Australian has won just two of 16 previous encounters with the defending women's champion, seeded second this year.
"She fights from the first point to the last point. Doesn't give much away, and, you know, when her back is against the wall she keeps swinging and going forward," Stosur said. "She can make that ball on the line and, then, all of a sudden get herself back into it. She's one of those players that you have to go at the whole time and not let up."
Their last meeting, in the fourth round of the French last year, ended with a 3-6, 6-4, 6-0 win for the Russian.
Maria Sharapova will say later whether she was hampered by her cold in her 6-3, 6-1 win over Vitalia Diatchenko, but it did not show on center court at the French Open.
The defending champion saved four of the five break points she faced against her Fed Cup teammate and limited her mistakes to eight unforced errors to set up a third-round meeting with 2010 runner-up Samantha Stosur.
In front of her home crowd, Amandine Hesse looked up to the sky and sighed in relief. Her forehand volley had just landed on the line, out of Samantha Stosur's reach.
It was a crucial point for the wild card entry, a point that spared her the humiliation of bowing out of the French Open without winning a single game.
Hesse's winner at the net earned the Frenchwoman her first game of the match after Stosur raced to a 6-0, 5-0 lead.
For Hesse, it was a short-lived relief though. Stosur, a finalist in Paris in 2010, wrapped up the match in the next game to advance to the third round with a 6-0, 6-1 win.
After finishing last season outside the top 20 for the first time since 2008, the 26th-seeded Stosur is enjoying a good spell of form, having won her first title this year in Strasbourg last week.
Maria Sharapova, the defending champion in Paris, is about to open play on center court against Vitalia Diatchenko in a second-round match.
It will be interesting to see if the second-seeded Russian has recovered from the cold that had her coughing during her opening win against Kaia Kanepi.
Also, watch for the fans' reaction. Sharapova was booed as she left the court on Monday because she declined to do an on-court interview.
The good news for Sharapova and her sore throat comes from the weather, which should remain sunny, mild and dry the whole day.
Sharapova will be followed on the main stadium court by fifth-seeded Kei Nishikori, with No. 2 seed Roger Federer scheduled to play on Court Suzanne Lenglen against Marcel Granollers.
Venus Williams has been handed a $3,000 fine by tournament organizers for not showing up at a news conference following her first-round exit at the French Open.
After the 15th-seeded Williams lost 7-6 (5), 6-1 to Sloane Stephens on Monday, she snubbed the media, instead issuing a short statement.
It was Williams' second opening defeat in three years at Roland Garros.