Dominika Cibulkova was brutal to herself in her post-match press conference, but the reality was that she played rather well in her semifinal match against world number 1 Dinara Safina. The 6-3, 6-3 score looks a bit ordinary, but the match was enjoyable.
On the other hand, one can understand Cibulkova's frustration that she was unable to do more with Safina's somewhat shaky serve. Also, Cibulkova's serve was shaky, but that was the only visible sign of what she later described as the high anxiety she felt on the court. There were plenty of visible signs that Safina was angry and frustrated, and one British broadcaster felt compelled to apologize to his listening audience for Safina's language. No sympathy here--find a different way to position the microphones.
There are mitigating factors. Safina is ill, and has been for a couple of days. She looks pale and she sounds terrible. As for Cibulkova, she entered the French Open not having played matches since she retired in the Charleston quarterfinals.
(Photo courtesy of Angelica)
The Stosur-Kuznetsova match was a bit of a different story. Stosur, the queen of spin, did not disappoint. I saw only a set and a half, but Sam Stosur looked pretty good. In the end, she was--not surprisingly--outplayed by Svetlana Kuznetsova, who is top-notch on clay. Kuznetsova won, 6-4, 6-7, 6-3, in a match that went on for almost two and a half hours.
Getting to the semifinals was an outstanding accomplishment for both Cibulkova and Stosur, neither of whom has ever won a tournament. One hopes that they will feel some pride in what they did at this French Open. And as for the finalists--whether you're cheering for Dinara or Sveta--let's hope Dinara is feeling healthy.
We have doubles finalists, too. 2008 champions and 3rd seeds Anabel Medina Garrigues and Virginia Ruano Pascual will play 12th seeds Victoria Azarenka and Elena Vesnina for the championship.