French Open 2015: Struggling Maria Sharapova fights tears as she sees off Samantha Stosur

Russian comes through third round match

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The Independent Online

It was only a third-round match but Maria Sharapova appeared to be on the brink of tears as she completed a  6-3, 6-4 win over Australia’s Samantha Stosur at the French Open in Paris on Friday.

The 28-year-old Russian has been suffering from a heavy cold and has coughed and spluttered her way through the first week. But she was still good enough to improve her record to 65 wins from her last 71 matches on clay.

Sharapova had felt so unwell earlier in the week that she refused to do an on-court post-match interview, but said that she was feeling better. “I’m getting there,” she said. “I might not sound like it, but I am.

“I was just really happy to win this one. I knew it was going to be a tough one. The start of the week was really tough and I knew I had a tough opponent. I just wanted to be as ready as I could. I was really happy to win it.”

The chilly conditions have not helped Sharapova, who had to deal with a gusting wind that swirled around Court Philippe Chatrier, blowing dust into the players’ faces. It was an error-strewn match, but Sharapova held the upper hand throughout. Stosur plays well on clay, having finished runner-up here in 2010 and reached the semi-finals in 2009 and 2012, but made far too many unforced errors.

Sharapova is attempting to reach the final for the fourth year in succession, having won the title in 2012 and 2014 and finished runner-up to Serena Williams in 2013.

Roger Federer, making his 17th successive appearance at Roland Garros, reached the last 16 for the 11th year in a row when he beat Bosnia’s Damir Dzumhur 6-4, 6-3, 6-2. The 2009 champion has not dropped a set in his first three matches.

Dzumhur, who idolised Federer as he grew up in Sarajevo, said: “It felt so strange for me, like I was dreaming.”