It was satisfying to hear a commentator say that Marion Bartoli's court movement is deceptively good, because it is. Her defense against semifinal opponent Sam Stosur--much of it done on the run--was very impressive tonight. Bartoli broke Stosur twice in the first set and won it handily, but in the second set, she lost control of her serve. To make matters worse for her, Stosur became more aggressive and totally dominated her.
Momentum can swing so much in a tennis match, and for reaons I cannot really explain, I had a feeling that the third set would once again be the Marion Bartoli Show, and I was right. Breaking Stosur immedinately, Bartoli again found her own serve, and dominated Stosur as she herself had been dominated in the previous set. Stosur had to have a medical break for her back, which certainly must have contributed to her third set downfall, but Bartoli made a solid contribution, also, defeating Stosur 6-3, 1-6, 6-1. It should be noted that Stosur hit 43 winners to Bartoli's 16, but Bartoli's defense was just too good, and when things got tense, it was she who held her nerve.
This is the second year in a row that Bartoli has reached the Stanford finals. Her first goal for the final, she told and interviewer, is to "avoid 6-0, 6-1." That would be a reference to the score of Venus Williams' semifinal match against Elena Dementieva. It was a bit scary to watch the formidable and talented Dementieva stand helpless as Williams completely dominated her. This looked like the Venus Williams of several years ago, and one cannot help but wonder what the queen of grass courts has up her ELEVEN sleeve for the U.S. Open Series this year. Bartoli is wise to set a goal of not being obliterated by her 2007 Wimbledon final opponent.