Thursday, June 3, 2010

Roland Garros Results: Stosur and Schiavone into Finals; Dementieva Retires

Although Thursday's women's semifinals were about as anti-climactic as grand slam semifinals get, a win is a win, and consequently, Samantha Stosur and Francesca Schiavone will be facing off in both of their first Major finals. Stosur took on Serbian Jelena Jankovic, the highest seed remaining going into day 11. Stosur stayed cool, calm and collected in her 6-1, 6-2 win, as she has been the entire tournament, hitting 7 aces to Jankovic's 2. Another key statistic: Stosur hit 18 winners and 16 erros while the passive Jankovic's ratio was 9 to 22.

Most impressive of Stosur's destroying of JJ was that the Aussie avoided a letdown after taking out Serena and Henin. Sammy's match was just about as long game-wise as her epid third set with Williams in the quarters. In her presser, Stosur stressed self-belief and movement (she looks like a natural the way she moves on the red dirt) as key factors in her improving:

"I think it's a lot of things. It's not just one aspect. My fitness and strength is something I've been working on for probably a good five years very seriously. That hasn't been an overnight process. And, you know, really understanding my game and how to use it and my strengths and weaknesses and all that, I've got a lot better at understanding everything that I can do over the last few years a lot better. And then self belief and starting to win big matches. So I think it's a combination of lots of things all coming together."

And the first semi was just as much, if not more, of a snooze fest as the Stosur/JJ one, as Elena Dementieva saw yet another chance to grab that well overdue first Major title come crashing down again, as a torn calf muscle that she has apparently been dealing with since the second round, forced her to retire after dropping the first set 7-6 (3) to Francesca Schiavone. Dementieva continued her aggressive play but the Italian's relentless defense and heavy topspin proved too much for the emotional Dementieva to handle.

Schiavone becomes the first Italia women in the Open Era to reach a Grand Slam final, and when asked about her chances in the championship match, where Stosur will be a heavy favorite, the 17th seed responded:

"I don't know. I really don't know, but I'm really happy to be here. I will go on the court and I will fight at the best that I will do it, that I can do. Now is time to relax, and Saturday will be the time to put everything that I work until now."

Here's to hoping that the men's semis bring a little more excitement.

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