Sam Stosur played a nerveless French Open, defeated world No. 1, and former No. 1s Justine Henin and Jelena Jankovic — that is, up to the final.
Stosur’s nerves returned while her opponent, Italian Francesca Schiavone who turns 30 this month, played without fear in securing the first Grand Slam title ever for an Italian woman with a 6-4, 7-6(2) win.
Stosur, already penciled in to become the first Australian woman to win a major since Evonne Goolagong at Wimbledon in 1980, played ‘not to lose’ against an opponent who was willing to take her chances.
The tight Stosur could seemingly not let loose on her biggest weapons, the forehand and the high-kicking serve, and at 4-4 in the first set threw in a doubles fault on game point to hand the Italian the first set. In the second set Schiavone tested the Aussie’s nerve by repeatedly charging the net. The payoff — Schiavone becomes the first winner of the French Open from outside the Top 10 since 1933.
“I felt amazing today. I feel like a champion,” Schiavone told the crowd. “But I want to say to Samantha that she is a great person. You deserve to be here next time. You are young, you can still do it.”
After math point Schiavone kissed the claycourt, then went up into the stands to hug her friends and supporters. It was the 10th French Open of her career, and with her first title she is projected to rise to No. 6 on the WTA Tour Rankings.
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