Sport Tennis Centre court snub for Stosur, Sharapova

Centre court snub for Stosur, Sharapova

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They are two genuine heavyweights of Roland Garros but Samantha Stosur and Maria Sharapova have been denied centre court status for their last 16 French Open showdown.

Australian 19th seed Stosur will face the 2012 champion in the fourth round on Sunday (Monday morning AEST), with their match surprisingly scheduled as the last of four on the secondary Suzanne Lenglen show court.

The decision was met with some bemusement on social media, particularly because organisers preferred a clash between unseeded players Garbine Muguruza and Pauline Parmentier on the showpiece Court Philippe Chatrier.

Russian seventh seed Sharapova is the tournament favourite following the shock exit of the top three seeds while Stosur, runner-up at Roland Garros in 2010 and a three-time semi-finalist, is considered a title smokey.

Stosur is yet to play in the main arena at this year’s tournament.

Court Philippe Chatrier ranks high on Stosur’s favourite venues in the world but it holds bitter-sweet memories for the 30-year-old.

Memorable wins over Serena Williams and Jelena Jankovic en route to 2010 final preceded an agonising defeat to Italian veteran Francesca Schiavone in the decider.

Stosur also suffered the heartbreak of semi-final defeats Svetlana Kuznetsova (2009) and Sara Errani (2011).

But as time wears on, Stosur says looks back more fondly at her Roland Garros experiences.

“I’ve got lots of good memories here,” Stosur said.

“It’s bitter-sweet but now, a few years down the track, I can look at it a bit more objectively and think, ‘OK it was a final, it was still a great achievement.”

As well as creating another memory to savour, Stosur could take a significant step towards claiming a second grand slam title with an upset of Sharapova.

However she needs to somehow defy a 2-13 head-to-head record in previous meetings between the pair.

The last defeat came only earlier this month on clay when Sharapova prevailed 6-4 6-3 at the Madrid Masters.

“It’s probably good to have that fresh in my mind and think ‘this didn’t work but this did’ and really try to be clear and go out there and do what I feel like I need to do,” Stosur said.

Stosur is the last Australian remaining in singles at Roland Garros.

On Saturday, women’s doubles duo Casey Dellacqua and Ashleigh Barty scored an impressive 6-1 6-2 win over Slovakian Jana Cepelova and Swiss Stefanie Voegele to reach third round.

The seventh-seeded duo reached the final at the Australian Open, Wimbledon and US Open last year.