Women’s tennis fans are in for another delightful game of “Will She Choke?” when new world No. 1 Maria Sharapova takes on Italian Sara Errani in the 2012 French Open final.
When we played “Will She Choke?” in the semifinals, it was Aussie Sam Stosur who grabbed her throat late in the third set against Errani, losing 7-5, 1-6, 6-3, sailing second serves way long and making some really questionable shot selections.
That’s what happens in Grand Slam pressure.
“I think you’re always going to be a bit nervous going into a semi,” said Stosur, following up a massive choke in the 2010 French Open final against Francesca Schiavone. “It’s a semifinal of a Slam. Of course you’re going to be nervous. I don’t know if that beforehand affected me throughout the match. I just didn’t do enough, really. Just sucks that it happened here today.”
Neither Sharapova nor Errani have appeared in the final at Roland Garros before, so the chances of the Sharapova service yips returning, or Errani feeling the moment, will loom large.
Sharapova was more than impressive in rolling past reigning Wimbledon champ Petra Kvitova in the semis. Now it remains to be seen whether she can keep hitting winners and retain her composure when Errani hits her bunny of a second serve during their encounter.
Errani has thus far beaten former French Open champions Ana Ivanovic and Svetlana Kuznetsova, and a former finalist in Stosur.
“I didn’t expect [this],” Errani said. “I don’t feel like Top 10, but now I will be, so it’s a strange sensation, because I have to just after this tournament just relax and think. Maybe my problem always was that I couldn’t believe too much to win with the strong players. Now I beat three in a row. I’m in the final in a Grand Slam. So I have to maybe try to think a bit different.”
Sharapova also faces the added pressure of closing out a career Grand Slam.
Ready to spin the wheel and play “Will She Choke?” For once we’d like to see this game bypassed, and see a women’s French Open final where one player steps up and both compete to their fullest.
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