Sam’s date with Mugu­ruza

The Weekend Post - - Sport -

GARBINE Mugu­ruza stands be­tween Sam Sto­sur and the glo­ries of the French Open’s sec­ond week and the Aus­tralian knows noth­ing less than sus­tained ex­cel­lence will suf­fice.

As one of the strong­est play­ers in tennis, Sto­sur knows con­trolled ag­gres­sion is gen­er­ally the recipe to grand slam suc­cess.

But the US Open cham­pion also con­cedes third seed Mugu­ruza has oo­dles of power — and is never afraid to use it.

The last time the pair clashed in Paris, Sto­sur was steam­rolled 6-2, 6-4 in 2016.

A tighter en­counter in Bris­bane last year and the Spa­niard’s com­par­a­tively medi­ocre form head­ing into Roland Gar­ros has left Sto­sur op­ti­mistic she can de­rail the Wim­ble­don cham­pion.

“It’s go­ing to be tough and she ob­vi­ously plays very well here,” Sto­sur said.

“She likes it here as well and she’s been in the top 10 for a very long time. It’s cer­tainly go­ing to be a tough match-up for me but I’m look­ing for­ward to the chal­lenge.

“She hits the ball very hard, flat and deep and I do re­mem­ber in that match she was hit­ting re­ally good re­turns, re­ally close to the base­line, which straight­away puts me on the back foot.

“So I think serv­ing is go­ing to be key, not that that’s too dis­sim­i­lar to any other day.

“And I guess just try­ing to com­bat her pace of shot so I’m go­ing to have to be ag­gres­sive as well.”

Seeded third, Mugu­ruza wants to atone for last sea­son’s exit at the hands of Kristina Mlade­n­ovic — and not to panic as she oc­ca­sion­ally does.

ON FIRE: Sa­man­tha Sto­sur in sec­ond-round ac­tion. Pic­ture: GETTY

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