Stosur Roars Past Jankovic

French Open 2010
By Hiland Doolittle, June 4th, 2010
Stosur Roars Past Jankovic

Stosur Roars Past Jankovic

Having played her way through the most difficult bracket at Roland Garros, there was no doubt that Samantha Stosur was tourney-tough and battle-tested for her semifinal match with Jalena Jankovic. In successive matches, the seventh seeded Australian powered past bookmaker favorites, Justine Henin and Serena Williams in three set matches. A match against the fourth seeded Jankovic seemed a bit anti-climactic after those two underdog wins.

Samantha stayed focused and once again put her strong right arm to use. The Aussie blasted first serves and used her special high-kick second serve to humiliate the weak serving, defensive-minded Jankovic in a 6-1, 6-2 one hour semifinal win.

As she did yesterday in her three hour, three set win against the top seeded Serena Williams, Stosur moved around her backhand to hit blistering forehand returns of serve. Samantha kept Jankovic pinned in her backhand corner behind the baseline where she was powerless to cause problems. Although her two-handed backhand is Jankovic’s best weapon, Stosur learned how to beat the Serb in their Miami match earlier in the season. Jankovic still leads the series 3-2 but Stosur now seems to have her number.

Samantha went so far as to serve Jankovic wide in both courts and then moved her around the court with stinging forehands and sliced backhands. Stosur will next face another defensive specialist, Italian Francesca Schiavone, who will need her A game and some strong legs to stay with the hard hitting 26-year old Australian star.

Schiavone Take Out Dementieva

Schiavone Take Out Dementieva

Schiavone Take Out Dementieva

Francesca Schiavone’s semifinal win over heavily favored Elena Dementieva ended when the fifth seeded Russian retired but the Italian’s accomplishment was not diminished. The 29-year old relished her berth in the finals and her role as the first Italian to ever gain a final appearance at a Grand Slam event.

Schiavone controlled the first set with her quick feet and steady play. Dementieva continually gambled on drop shots and angled drives that were designed to shorten the points and protect her injured left leg. The more risks she took, the deeper the hole got for the favorite.

Winner Poker

In the seventh game, her gimpy calf muscle caused her to limp even while walking along the baseline. The Russian succumbed to tears in the next to last point. After a quick look at her mother, Elena shook hands with the Italian and tearfully conceded the match.

Francesca was stunned but accepted the win, her sixth of the tournament. The win boosts Schiavone into the top ten along with fellow Italian Flavia Pennetta.

Grand Slam tennis is a highly competitive event that requires as much conditioning as it does skill. To earn the trophy, the winner must win seven matches in two weeks. Dementieva, who has never before retired in a Grand Slam, injured her calf during her second round match. She battled through her next three matches, including a surprising win over 19th seed Nadia Petrova.

After receiving wrapping and treatment from the trainer prior to the Schiavone match, she was still in severe pain. As she saw the first set slip away, the mountain was just too high, the pain too great.

Schiavone will play Stosur, the tour’s hottest player, on Saturday. Both players are seeking their first Grand Slam championship. Stosur’s clay court record this season is a sparkling 20-3. Some analysts believe she suffers from nerves, but with a 4-1 career record against the underdog, she will be comfortable and confident against Schiavone.


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