Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Stosur and Errani reach French Open semifinals

This morning, one of the ESPN commentators provided a fascinating statistic on Samantha Stosur: In majors, every time Stosur has won the first set--and that would be 48 times--she has won the match. That stat says everything there is to know about Stosur in terms of her mental toughness. She comes on like a fast storm and swoops her opponent right off the court--or she's so hesitant, she lets her opponent dictate everything.

Those of us who saw the 2010 Charleston final were stunned by the Australian star's almost scary ability to take control of a match from the very first point. Yet Stosur, who won the 2011 U.S. Open (by defeating no less than Serena Williams in the final), has very few trophies to show for her singles play. Too often, she has hesitated, made herself one-down, and gone out in a weak flame of doubt and passivity.

Not today. Today, Stosur--though she had to serve twice for the first set--kept her head about her and fought off the aggressive hitting of Dominika Cibulkova. She used her serve and her heavy topspin to take charge when she needed to, and won the match, 6-4, 6-1.

In the other quarterfinal played today, the Italian of 2012, Sara Errani, took out Angelique Kerber, the 10th seed, and a player many thought would get to the semifinals. Errani's 6-3, 7-6 victory is her first over a top 10 player. Having already taken out 2008 champion Ana Ivanovic and 2009 champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, Errani hit 28 winners and made only 14 unforced errors in beating the German star. Kerber served for the second set twice, but Errani would have none of it. The match lasted about an hour and a half, but Errani is the type of player who could pack a lunch and a change of clothes and keep going for hours.

Defending champions Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka moved a big step closer today to defending their title. They beat 2nd seeds Kveta Peschke and Katarina Srebotnik 6-1, 5-7, 7-6 in the quarterfinals. Hlavackova and Hradecka are seeded 5th. 7th seeds Maria Kirilenko and Nadia Petrova beat 3rd seeds Vania King and Yaroslava Shvedova 6-3, 6-4.

I'm sure that one of the more satisfied players today was Elena Vesnina, who, with partner Leander Paes, upset top seeds Liezel Huber and Max Mirnyi in the mixed doubles quarterfinals. Also winning were Galina Voskoboeva and Daniele Braccili, who defeated Nuria Llagostera Vives and Oliver Marach.

Top junior seed Taylor Townsend, who won the junior Australian Open title, advanced today after beating Carol Zhao 6-7, 7-6, 6-4 in the second round. The match lasted 2 hours and 38 minutes.

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