Francesca Schiavone à propos Sam Stosur: “She’s very strong, great power. She improves so mentally, physically a lot.
I think will be very tough and very close match, and will be a lot of tactics in the court. I think like this.”

Sam Stosur about Francesca Schiavone: “I think, you know, it’s a final. It’s a different situation and everything else. I mean, who knows what’s gonna happen? I think it’s whoever can handle it better on the day. And then like I said before, maybe keep it about the tennis and they’ll probably have a good shot at winning.”

Read More

Nobody saw this final coming. Well, Stosur‘s presence in final is not such a surprise given her great results lately (win in Charleston and final in Stuttgart), but Schiavone‘s presence was really unexpected. Her best result in a Grand Slam so far was a quarter finals in Wimbledon last year.

But today, both Sam and Francesca are writing a beautiful page of their country tennis history.

Sam Stosur is the first Australian woman to reach a Grand Slam final since Wendy Turnbull in 1980. And Francesca Schiavone is now the first Italian woman ever to reach a Grand Slam final. She will also crack the Top 10 for the first time next week – just the second Italian ever to do so, after Flavia Pennetta.

Sam Stosur:

All the hard time is paying off for Stosur. Sidelined for about 9 months in 2007-2008 with the debilitating career-threatening Lyme’s disease, she recovered to regain her place in the top 30 last season. She captured her first WTA title last fall over … Francesca Schiavone and cracked the top 10. Stosur’s serve and forehand groundstrokes, hit with heavy spin are considered some of the best on the women’s tour.
She had an incredible run these past two weeks: she has beaten three past and present n°1s in a row (Justine Henin, Serena Williams, Jelena Jankovic) on the way to the final.

Stosur’s record in finals so far:

Outcome Date Tournament Surface Opponent in Final Score in Final
Runner-up 8 January 2005 Gold Coast Hard Patty Schnyder 1–6, 6–3, 7–5
Runner-up 15 January 2005 Sydney Hard Alicia Molik 6–7(5), 6–4, 7–5
Runner-up 4 May 2006 Prague Clay (O) Shahar Peer 4–6, 6–2, 6–1
Runner-up 28 September 2008 Seoul Hard Maria Kirilenko 2–6, 6–1, 6–4
Runner-up 9 August 2009 Los Angeles Hard Flavia Pennetta 6–4, 6–3
Winner 18 October 2009 Osaka Hard Francesca Schiavone 7–5, 6–1
Winner 18 April 2010 Charleston Clay (O) Vera Zvonareva 6–0, 6–3

Francesca Shiavone

Francesca’s path to the final was much more easier: she defeated Caroline Wozniacki in quarters and Elena Dementieva in semifinals, but the Dane was exhausted by her marathon match against Flavia Pennetta in the previous round, and Elena retired after the loss of the first set.
She is a very complete player and likes to attack the net to finish off the point.

Schiavone’s record in finals so far:

Outcome Date Tournament Surface Opponent in final Score in final
Runner-up 12 June 2000 Tashkent Hard Iroda Tulyaganova 6–3, 2–6, 6–3
Runner-up 6 January 1993 Canberra Hard Meghann Shaughnessy 6–1, 6–1
Runner-up 12 September 2005 Bali Hard Lindsay Davenport 6–2, 6–4
Runner-up 10 0ctober 2005 Moscow Carpet Mary Pierce 6-4, 6-3
Runner-up 24 October 2005 Hasselt Carpet Kim Clijsters 6–2, 6-2
Runner-up 9 January 2006 Sydney Hard Justine Henin 4–6, 7-5, 7-5
Runner-up 3 April 2006 Amelia Island Clay Nadia Petrova 6-4, 6-4
Runner-up 25 September 2006 Luxembourg Hard Alona Bondarenko 6–3, 6–2
Winner 29 July 2007 Bad Gastein Clay Yvonne Meusburger 6-1, 6-4
Runner-up 13 July 2009 Prague Clay Sybille Bammer 7-6, 6-2
Runner-up 12 October 2009 Osaka Hard Sam Stosur 7-5, 6-1
Winner 25 October 2009 Moscow Hard Olga Govortsova 6-3, 6-0
Winner 17 April 2010 Barcelona Clay Roberta Vinci 6-1, 6-1

So, who’s the favorite for the title this afternoon?

Sam and Francesca are both in the form of their life but Stosur seems to be the one who will capture her maiden Grand Slam title.

But who knows how both of them will handle the pressure?

Sam used to be a choker but everything has changed since a few months. And as she explained it in press conference she already has Grand Slam finals experience… in doubles. But the pressure is on the Australian, as the Italian is clearly the underdog.
Francesca is a fighter and will give eveything for the title, she also knows there won’t be any other chance for her!

So, it will be an interesting match today between these two veterans. Sam leads their head to head 4 to 1, she has won their last four meetings. She’s clearly the favorite but a final is so different from every other match, so who knows what can happen.

Year Tournament Surface Winner Score in final
2005 Hasselt Hard Schiavone 6-3, 6-2
2007 Rome Clay Stosur 6–3, 6–4
2009 Indian Wells Hard Stosur 6–1, 6–4
2009 French Open Clay Stosur 6-4, 6-2
2009 Osaka Hard Stosur 7-5, 6-1

You can follow the final live on Tennis Buzz this afternoon.

Sam Stosur advances to the semifinals : she could have won easily 6-2 6-3 but she missed the occasion and Serena came back. The Australian saved a match point at 5-4 (30-40) in the third and defeated the world number one 6-2 6-7 8-6.

Two little videos of Sam Stosur, 2007 French Open:

[flickrvideo]http://www.flickr.com/photos/tennis-buzz/2400251237/in/set-72157603930017545/[/flickrvideo]
[flickrvideo]http://www.flickr.com/photos/tennis-buzz/2400286533/in/set-72157603930017545/[/flickrvideo]

This afternoon, Sam Stosur will meet Jelena Jankovic, and Elena Dementieva will face Francesca Schiavone.

Other surprise today: Jurgen Melzer beat world number 3 Novak Djokovic. The Serb lead 2 sets to love and a break but Melzer worked it hard and won in 5: 3-6 2-6 6-2 7-6 6-4.
Big desillusion for the Serb who should focus on his game instead of playing the drama queen.

Stat of the day: 1
Of all the 8 semifinalists, Rafael Nadal is the only one to have already won a major.

I had one of my best Roland Garros experience in 2007. I had bought tickets for the Benny Berthet Day but couldn’t attend it, and for the second Wednesday.
Usually, I avoid Wednesdays, because the stadiums are overcrowded and full of kids everywhere, but I really enjoyed that sunny day at Roland Garros.

Trophée des légendes
First match on the Suzanne Lenglen that day, an under 45 Legends Trophy match: Leconte/Pioline vs Champion/Cash.

A two time Grand Slam runner up (US Open 93, Wimbledon 97), Pioline won his biggest title in Monte Carlo in 2000. He is now co-director of the Paris Bercy Masters Series tournament.

Cedric Pioline

Read More

Svetlana Kuznetsova:

JumpAround

The future was bright for Svetlana Kuznetsova when she won the US Open in 2004. But she never fullfilled her potential, and had just reached one Grand Slam final since.
With the help of new coach Larissa Neiland, she refocused on her game, and put her career back on track. She battled past Serena Williams and Sam Stosur in quarter and semi finals, but Safina was no match for the powerful and versatile Kuznetsova.

Read More