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Aussie triple threat in Strasbourg

Not since Rachel McQuillan, Anne Minter and Kristin Godridge in Moscow in 1990 have three Australians reached the quarterfinals at the same WTA event.

Strasbourg, France, 25 May 2017 | AAP

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In a huge boost two days out from the French Open draw, three Australian women have surged into the quarterfinals of a WTA event for the first time in 27 years.

Rome quarterfinalist Daria Gavrilova claimed it felt like a Fed Cup camp in sunny Strasbourg after joining Sam Stosur and Ashleigh Barty in the last eight.

“It’s awesome,” Gavrilova told AAP after outlasting Russian qualifier Elizaveta Kulichkova 6-3 6-7(5) 6-4 to set up a quarterfinal showdown with Barty, a 6-3 6-0 winner over Italian Camila Giorgi.

“It’s a good tournament for us. We’re all like having dinners together and really enjoying our time.

“We’re all playing really well. I’ve come from playing well in Rome and I’m just trying to keep my form.

“It’s good preparation for Paris because playing matches is much more important and easier than trying to get a practice court in Roland Garros.

“And it’s more stressful there, with so many people. Yeah, it’s a good thing for me to be away from Roland Garros right now, so I’ve made the best decision to play here.”

As has Barty, who backed up after her singles triumph to team with Casey Dellacqua and power into Saturday’s doubles final with a 7-6(2) 6-1 victory over Shuko Aoyama and Zhaoxuan Yang.

“It’s a happy hunting ground for us,” Barty said. “We’ve played here well before and won the title here before so hopefully we can do that again.”

Stosur, the 2015 champion in Strasbourg, Gavrilova and Barty are all staying in the same hotel.

“But not the same room,” Gavrilova said.

Asked if she planned on having dinner as usual with Barty before their all Aussie quarterfinal, the fiercely competitive 22-year-old said: “Probably not”.

“If we’re all going, then maybe. I don’t know.

“But I’ve had a big day today so I might have a quiet one, go somewhere in the city, do my laundry and then have a quick bite and then go and sleep. Nothing exciting.

“But playing Ash, it’s going to be fun. She’s so good. I love practising with her. I think I’m not bad playing my friends. I almost enjoy it more.”

Not since Rachel McQuillan, Anne Minter and Kristin Godridge in Moscow in 1990 – five years before Gavrilova was born in the same city – have three Australians reached the quarterfinals of the same WTA event.

While Barty and Gavrilova clash on Friday, Stosur plays Carla Suarez Navarro on Thursday as the former Roland Garros runner-up continues her quest for a second title in three years.

Stosur isn’t the only Strasborug winner in the field; Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia, the defending champion, is also into the quarters after a 6-3 6-3 win over Pole Magda Linette.

In her quarterfinal she will take on Czech 25-year-old Kristyna Pliskova.

Original author: Matt Trollope
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