Paris, France, 2 October 2020 | Leigh Rogers

Sam Stosur created history at Roland Garros in 2010, becoming the first Australian woman to advance to a major singles final in 30 years.

The then 26-year-old defeated a string of champions in Paris in a career-best run.

“That year, 2010, I mean you can’t really get much better than that,” Stosur reflected.

The seventh-seeded Stosur lost only one set in her opening three rounds, setting up a fourth-round showdown with four-time French Open champion Justine Henin.

The Aussie scored her first career victory against the former world No.1, staging an impressive comeback to win in three sets and snap the Belgian’s 24-match winning streak at Roland Garros.

“Beating Henin was just incredible,” Stosur recalled. “I’d lost to her maybe four or five weeks before in the Stuttgart final in three sets, and obviously she’s a legend of the sport, especially at Roland Garros.

“I came from a set down and beat her. I remember slightly changing tactics mid-way through the match and adjusting. Coming through that moment I think was a huge point in my career. To think ‘okay, I can work things out on the fly, I can do it in a big moment, I can do it against one of the best players, on the biggest stages, in the fourth round of a Grand Slam, I can do this.’ That was a huge moment.”

Stosur then recorded a career-first win against a world No.1 in the quarterfinals, overcoming Serena Williams in three sets.

“I really probably should’ve won in straight sets, relatively routinely,” reflected Stosur, who served for the match at 5-3 in the second set.

“It ended up being 8-6 in the third, but maybe that fight just made it more interesting and more memorable.”

Stosur dismissed world No.4 Jelena Jankovic in the semifinals, losing only three games.

Her impressive run made her first Aussie woman to reach a Grand Slam singles final in Paris since Wendy Turnbull in 1979.

Stosur entered the championship match as a red-hot favourite against world No.17 Francesca Schiavone, a 29-year-old Italian also contesting her first major final.

“I really felt like I was on a roll in that event and just playing great tennis,” Stosur related. “I loved every single second of being out on those courts and was feeling really good going into that final. But, I didn’t quite handle the occasion probably as well as my opponent did.”

Schiavone recorded a 6-4 7-6(2) victory to become the first Italian woman to win a Grand Slam title.

“It took me about a good year to even look at a point from that match,” Stosur admitted.

“It actually wasn’t until Roland Garros the following year, when I was there practising the week before and they had replays on of all the matches from the previous year. I was eating lunch and had no choice but to see myself on the screen and actually deal with it.”

First round def. [Q] Simona Halep (ROU) 7-5 6-1
Second round def. Rosana De Los Rios (PAR) 4-6 6-1 6-0
Third round def. [Q] Anastasia Pivovarova (RUS) 6-3 6-2
Fourth round def. [22] Justine Henin (BEL) 2-6 6-1 6-4
Quarterfinal def. [1] Serena Williams (USA) 6-2 6-7(2) 8-6
Semifinal def. [4] Jelena Jankovic (SRB) 6-1 6-2
Final lost to [17] Francesca Schiavone (ITA) 6-4 7-6(2)

A decade on, Stosur only has good memories.

“It’s an event I can look back on and be very proud about how I played, who I beat, where I got to. A Grand Slam final, it’s not something to be ashamed of,” she said.

“But it did take me a little while to get to that point. I have to say, Francesca just played better than me on the day. You know, in sport there’s no guarantees. There’s no ‘oh well, you should’ve done this, you shouldn’t have done that’. Why should you if your opponent plays better than you on that day.”