Stosur and Cinderella Errani To Semifinals

French Open 2012
By Hiland Doolittle, June 5th, 2012

The very fit Australian, Samantha Stosur, brought her A game to Court Philippe Chatrier and overpowered a competitive Dominika Cibulkova, the 16th seed 6-4,6-1.  The 5’3” Cibulkova had hopes of repeating her upset of top seed Victoria Azarenka but fell prey to Stosur’s blistering serve and powerful forehand.

Samantha Stosur

Samantha Stosur into French Open 2012 Semifinals

As the 6th seed, Stosur is seeking her second Grand Slam title after finally breaking through at last year’s US Open. Samantha has moved efficiently through the draw allowing higher seeds Azarenka (1) and Radwanska (3) to capture the headlines while Samantha went about her work. Her workmanlike dismissal of Cibulkova the her into the limelight and the favorite to reach the semis in the top bracket.

The Aussie cruised to an impressive two break lead in the first set before Cibulkova captured her only break of the match to climb back into contention. Dominika would have nine other chances to break but failed to connect on any more opportunities.

Stosur’s play was too clean.  Dominika had no answers for Samantha’s excellent serve and high-kicking topspin forehand.  As a favorite, Stosur has often come up short in her career. But, since her win in the 2011 US Open, her nerves have calmed and she has learned to play through big matches. Her Grand Slam experience shone through on Tuesday.  The Aussie committed just 13 unforced errors against 30 outright winners.  She was able to move into the court against Cibulkova’s first serve and won 50 percent of those serves.  She will need a similar strategy in her semifinal match against Italian Cinderella Sara Errani, the unlikeliest of opponents.

Sara Errani

Sara Errani into her first grand slam semifinals

The 25-year old Italian Sara Errani is having her best season on the tour and may well pass Italian legends Francesca Schiavone and Flavia Pennetta before long.  This year’s French Open should be Errani’s biggest payday as she is still alive in the doubles as well as the singles.

In her quarter final Match, Sara jumped ahead of the tenth seeded Angelique Kerber, a rising German start and buzzed through the set 6-3. Kerber’s power serve was supposed to be the difference but like her Italian teammates, Errani put her clay court prowess to work and began to sculpt points.  She broke serve six times while Kerber broke Errani’s lesser regarded serve 4 times.

The match was decided by unforced errors.  Errani had 14 but Kerber had 25. It is this tenaciousness that Errani will need to deploy against a heavily favored Stosur.  Cibulkova did not have a winning strategy against Stosur whose weakness is her backhand.  Errani will need to overplay the Aussie’s backhand where there are very few winners.

Errani and Stosur have played five times.  Samantha has not only won all 5 encounters but has done so convincingly. The French crowds have not responded enthusiastically to Stosur and are likely to be vocal in their support of the Cinderella Errani.


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