Nothing could have been more appropriate for today's Stuttgart semifinal match between Anna Lapushchenkova and Sam Stosur than the "old newsreel" highlights shown at the end, to the sounds of the William Tell Overture. The match was a series of breaks, errors, chokes, and assorted odd moments that made it a bit hard to watch, even if you didn't care who won it.
Lapushchenkova really needs to do something about her serve. She committed 10 double-faults in the semifinal match, giving her a total of 63 for the 7 matches she played in Stuttgart. Considering how off the 7th seed's game was today, one could reasonably say that the Russian's double-faulting cost her the match. She was up 4-1, then 5-2, in the first set, served for it twice, and lost it 5-7. In the second set, Stosur picked up her level, and Lapushchenkova pretty much went to pieces. Stosur won that set 6-3.
It's easy to understand why most of Lapushchenkova's ITF wins have been on clay; she is better at breaking than holding. The Russian qualifier did have a very good tournament, though, and we certainly won't forget some of those backhand shots any time soon.
"Attitude and composure--what is this about?" Stosur was asked about the two words printed on her wristband. "It's not what I did today," she quipped. Stosur gets a bit of a pass, however, since she had never before played Lapushchenkova, and since most players do not hit the ball so flat, especially on clay.
In the other semifinal, wild card Justine Henin ended Shahar Peer's great Stuttgart run, defeating her 6-3, 6-2. Peer took out both Agnieszka Radwanska and Dinara Safina, but she wasn't able to overcome Henin.
The Porsche Tennis Grand Prix is generally considered the players' favorite tournament because it is so well organized and so entertaining. As a viewer, I also enjoy it, but unfortunately--between the giant banners with the Stepford players' unrecognizable "sexy" tour photos and the horrible "GIRLS, SET & MATCH" slogan--it is also the most blatantly sexist in its marketing.