French Open third round preview: Lucie Safarova - Samantha Stosur

French Open third round preview: Lucie Safarova - Samantha Stosur

Last year's French Open finalist Lucie Safarova takes on another former French Open finalist in Samantha Stosur as the battle of two seeds clash for a spot in the fourth round of the French Open.

Tevon King

11th seed Lucie Safarova takes on 21st seed Samantha Stosur in the third round of the French Open with a fourth round spot at stake. Safarova is now solely focusing on singles after her doubles title defence with Bethanie Mattek-Sands came to a halt in the first round. Stosur reached the French Open final in 2010 losing to Italian Francesca Schiavone.

This match will take place second on Court Philippe Chatrier and the winner of this clash will take on another former finalist, the sixth seed Simona Halep or Japanese youngster Naomi Osaka.

How they got here

Safarova has been impressive so far on her return to the French Open and she dispatched Vitalia Diatchenko with a 6-0, 6-2 victory in the first round and in the second round she was equally impressive by defeating Swiss qualifier Viktorija Golubic 6-2, 6-2.

Stosur's progression to this stage of the tournament hasn't been smooth sailing. She battled past Misaki Doi 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 in the first round and she defeated Australian Open quarterfinalist Shuai Zhang 6-3, 6-4 to set up this meeting with the Czech.

Sam Stosur in action against China's Shuai Zhang (Photo by Dennis Grombkowski/Getty Images)
Samantha Stosur in action against China's Shuai Zhang (Photo by Dennis Grombkowski/Getty Images)

Their history

Safarova and Stosur have played each other 14 times on the WTA tour. Safarova leads their head-to-head 11-3 and they have played each other once on grass, ten times on hard and three times on clay. 

Safarova has won all three of their previous meetings on clay and in three sets coming back from a set down to claim all three victories. 

The first victory for the Czech was at Charleston in the first round in 2006 and eight years later in 2014 at Charleston at the round of 16 stage and the most recent victory for Safarova on clay against the Aussie was in the final of Safarova's hometown in Prague last month.

Stosur's three victories over Safarova have come on hard courts at the Miami Open in 2011, Dubai in 2012 and last year in Sydney. 

They have previously met once at a Grand Slam event which was at the US Open in 2006, inthe first round which Safarova won 6-2, 7-6(5).

Their record in Paris

Stosur has a very good record in Paris, as the Australian number one is in her eighth consecutive third round appearance. During that impressive run Stosur has reached the semifinals in 2009 and 2012 and the final in 2010.

Safarova's results have recently improved on the red dirt in the French capital as she made the fourth round in 2007 and 2014 and the final in 2015. 

Both of them have won doubles titles in Paris which Stosur achieved in 2006 with her American partner Lisa Raymond.

Who wins?

Safarova and Stosur were on course to meet in the fourth round last year but Stosur lost to Maria Sharapova, who in turn Safarova would beat a round later. 

Stosur plays very well on clay and her kick serve could trouble Safarova but Safarova has played the better tennis so far in her opening two matches. 

The 11th seeded Czech has finalist points from last year to defend and a third round exit is certainly something she doesn't need.

A win for Stosur could do her some good going forward for the rest of the tournament and she could be a major threat there.

There is a big opportunity for someone in the bottom half of the draw to go on a deep run as Serena Williams is in the top half of the draw but this half of the draw still has plenty quality seeds left.

Prediction: Safarova to win in three sets.