Aussies at Roland Garros – Sam Stosur 2010
As we count down to French Open 2012, tennis.com.au will feature some of the best Australian achievements at Roland Garros.
As we count down to French Open 2012, tennis.com.au will feature some of the best Australian achievements at Roland Garros. The highlights will be revealed in chronological order and when all 20 have been named, you get the chance to vote for your No.1 achievement.
Sam Stosur’s lead-up to Roland Garros 2010 was one of the best periods of the Australian’s career to date.
Following a fourth-round exit at the Australian Open – her best result at her home major so far – Stosur made it to the semifinals at Indian Wells, which elevated her into the top 10. She then travelled to Miami, where she was a quarterfinalist before winning the title on clay at Charleston. Her 6-0 6-3 demolition of former top 10 Russian Vera Zvonareva was a warning shot that many on the WTA Tour either didn’t hear or ignored.
Following the Fed Cup weekend, Stosur proved her win on clay at Charleston was no fluke by blasting her way to the Stuttgart final. The run included wins over Li Na and Marion Bartoli but she was unable to overcome former world No.1 Justine Henin who drove away in a Porsche following her three-set victory over Stosur.
Stosur’s final event before the French Open was at Madrid where she made it to the quarters.
Seeded seventh in Paris, Stosur’s first three rounds were relatively uneventful, but then the draw closed in on her. In the fourth round Stosur’s conqueror in Stuttgart, Henin, was waiting. Having won the Roland Garros title four times between 2003 and 2007, Henin knew the Roland Garros clay better than most. And after winning the opening set, it seemed that Henin’s unbeaten run of 24 matches would soon extend to 25. It wasn’t to be. Stosur fought back to win the match and set up a quarterfinal with world No.1 Serena Williams, the 2002 champion.
Stosur had defeated the younger Williams sister just once in their four prior meetings, all of which had been on hard court. Just as she did against Henin, Stosur went into the match as the underdog.
Williams started the match well, but it was Stosur who took the opening set 6-2. Leading 5-3 in the second and serving for the match, Stosur tightened, which was enough to let Williams back in. The American took her chance and the second set in a tiebreak, 7-6(2). Williams took the lead in the third and brought up a match point, but an attempted forehand winner down the line flew just long. Stosur steadied to level at 6-6 then broke Williams the next game before serving out the match.
In the semis, Stosur had to overcome Jelena Jankovic, another former No.1. Inspired by the thought of making her first major singles final, Stosur barely put a foot wrong as she dominated Jankovic from start to finish, winning 6-1 6-2.
Waiting for Stosur in the final was Francesca Schiavone, the irrepressible Italian with the big smile and bigger heart. Like Stosur, the match would also be Schiavone’s first major final.
For once, Stosur was the favourite. Schiavone, the 17th seed, had enjoyed an easier path to the final and was not expected to win. Schiavone had ousted 11th seed Li Na, world No.3 Caroline Wozniacki and No.5 Elena Dementieva to secure her place alongside Stosur on finals day.
Sadly for Stosur and her legion of fans hoping that she could become the first Australian woman to win the French Open title since Margaret Court in 1973, the day would belong to the Italian.
Schiavone played the match of her life to upset Stosur 6-4 7-6(2) and claim her maiden Grand Slam title on the Roland Garros clay.
Profile: Sam Stosur
Aussies at Roland Garros – the complete list to date
2010 Sam Stosur defeats three No.1s on her way to the final