PARIS- Samantha Stosur gave tournament favourite Maria Sharapova an almighty scare before bowing out of the French Open with a three-set defeat in the fourth round.
The Australian 19th seed blew a one-set lead as the Russian prevailed 3-6 6-4 6-0 in an epic Roland Garros encounter lasting just over two hours on Sunday.
Stosur missed an opportunity to capitalise on a wide-open women's draw after the top three seeds failed to reach the last 16.
However, she will take some encouragement at reaching the fourth round of a grand slam for the first time in two years.
The 30-year-old had won only two of 15 previous encounters with Sharapova.
Stosur edged ahead when she converted a fourth break point to take a 4-3 lead.
She fought hard to hold serve before breaking again in 48 minutes when Sharapova double faulted.
The Russian took a 2-0 lead.
But Stosur held serve then broke back when Sharapova double faulted again.
Stosur kept her nose in front and looked a strong chance of victory at 4-3 up on serve.
Stosur's exit ends Australian involvement in singles at Roland Garros this year.