Schiavone Heimlichs Choking Stosur for French Open Title
by Staff | June 5th, 2010, 12:02 pm

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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39 Comments for Schiavone Heimlichs Choking Stosur for French Open Title

Eskay Says:

I do not want to offend any one, but the results are not indicative of depth of women’s tennis. One welcomed the return of Justine and Kim, since the women’s game was tending to become very predictable with the Williams sisters starting to take tennis seriously in the last few years. If the Stosur that defeated Serena and Justine had lost today, it would have been a different thing. But to me it appears that the results today, instead of showing depth in women’s tennis, show the lack of it.

Lorr Says:

Eskay – I think you are seriously mistaken – from the get go Franny *OWNED* the Philippe Chatrier Court – today was a great day for tennis – in the true spirit of competition, hard work, professionalism and charisma -Francesca is a worthy champion in every sense of the word!

zola Says:

Congratulations to Schiavone. Stosur was very tight and had lots of errors. That beautiful forehand that brought her to the final was gone. So was the serve. Instead, Schiavone would move forward, use the net, get to all the balls and as the article says, was there to win. Sam still needs to learn to control her nerves. But she is young and she can do it and she should not be discouraged.

WTA has no depth! look what has happened to Ivanovic and Safina. Who else is there? Sam and Schiavone played the bast tennis in their halves and deserved to be there.

Ramesh Says:

First of all, the title of the post makes no sense at all. How did Schiavone save Stosur??? I disagree that Stosur played not to lose. That’s equivalent to Serena not giving credit to her opponent. Schiavone came out with a great game plan and executed it well. Unlike the last open final where Safina choked the title away, Sam had it taken away from her.

@Eskay, you are kidding me with the lack of depth in women’s tennis right? Here you have Sam Stosur, taking out three players who have been ranked #1 at some point in their careers, and you say there is no depth in woman’s tennis? Seriously?

Will Says:

Stosur did not choke. She was a little tight but she played well overall. Schiavone was just amazing. Definitely one of the all-time great performances in a GS final. And as for the supposed lack of depth in women’s tennis, that’s B.S. Anyone who actually follows women’s tennis beyond just the top 10 knows there are many excellent players in the teens, twenties, thirties and lower. E.g., Kirilenko, Rezai, Petkovic and many others.

Fot Says:

Schiavone had a great game plan and she stuck to it and she executed it. She deserved the win today so congrats to her and all her fans. Many folks (including myself) didn’t think she could win this match, but that’s why they play the game!!! Anything can happen. There is no guarantee that a player will win on any given day.

Congrats to her for her first slam at this stage in her career.

Andrew Miller Says:

I agree with Ramesh: Schiavone’s win over Stosur shows the WTA has GREAT depth. The clay season has truly featured it (Rezai winning, MJ winning, Venus playing well, etc). Further, I was really impressed with Schiavone’s array of clever shots.

Kevin Kane Says:

That might have been the most entertaining women’s tennis match I’ve seen since Henin v. Capriati at the 2003 US Open.

Schiavone’s style is way more fun to watch than mere baseling bashing. And wow, is she fast and athletic.

Her first grand slam win coming at age 29 is just a feel good story all the way. You felt that this was her last chance to win a slam, but that Stosur has a few more chances for that opportunity.

jane Says:

Winners 25 – 26
Unforced errors 19 – 28
Aces 6 – 3
Net points won 93% – 61%

Ninety-three% net points is fabulous; she was very clever in counter-acting Sam’s power. Smart play. And less errors too.

Texastennis Says:

Too hard on Stosur – I thought she played well but Schiavone had a game plan that worked beautifully to contain her.

The both did very well – congrats. I do think there’s a lack of depth. Williams sisters inevitably showing some slight declien due to age. The other multislam winners – Sharapova, Henin and Clijsters – all have their own issues and not the forces they were. And – here’s where the lack of depth is – I really don’t see any sign of anyone who I think will be a future multislam winner.

thark Says:

there does seem to be an issue with the WTA’s popularity though – why are there empty seats in the stands during QF and SF matches at slams?

maybe i am too young to remember correctly, but it seems to me that in the era of graf and seles the women’s game was as popular as the men’s.

what has changed? the style of play? the quality of play?

Colin Says:

How great to see someone using the whole court and – shock horror! – coming to the net frequently.
The British commentators pointed out that Stosur was originally known as a doubles player, and is still ranked as such, yet she has generally missed when trying to volley at Roland Garros.
Yes, she probably was tense, but her mistakes were due not only to nerves but to the pressure Schiavone maintained on her.
I hadn’t seen the Italian before this tournament, but in future I’m going to watch her whenever I can. She plays the sort of tennis I used to enjoy before the baseline took over.

Huh Says:

CONGRATULATIONS TO SCHIAVONE, FEELING HAPPY FOR HER REALLY COZ A 29-YR OLD WOMAN’S VICTORY is something we don’t come across too often these days in women’s tennis.

Maso Says:

Congratulations, Schiavone, she played a great final. Stosur definitely made more errors than she did against Justine and Serena, but that’s the pressure of playing a GS final and Schiavone handled it better today. I thought she played an incredible tie break, fearless, going for all the shots. It was definitely her day!

funches Says:

Sorry, but I don’t believe in miracles.

Schiavone played as well as she play today and deserves all the credit in the world, but she’s not good enough to beat top players when they are playing well. Makes me wonder if Clijsters would have won the tournament if she had not gotten injured. She doesn’t like clay, but she is a two-time RG finalist.

No way would Schiavone have beaten Serena or Henin. Stosur did not handle the occasion well. If she had played her normal level, Schiavone would have been 10 feet behind the baseline trying to retrieve the entire match rather than inside the baseline charging the net.

zola Says:

I was just reading the post-match interviews of Stosur and Schiavone,…..what a delight. You can feel the emotion through Schiavone’s interview and Stosur is just pure class.

This was one of the best FO WTA finals. I hope these two stay around for a few more years.

zola Says:


Stosur was number 1 in doubles and they said she had won FO in doubles.

I watched her in person two years ago in a match against Mauresmo. She was hitting great just like now and I wondered why she was not ranked higher. I think it is the consistency. Now that she has made it so far, I hope she stays focused on singles.

andrea Says:

stosur did look tight on a number of returns – easy smashes going long, net balls with not enough on them, forehands drilled into the net. i was hoping she would force a 3rd set though.

but, really, how can you not love schiavone jumping all over the court with glee? it was like roberto bengini at the oscars!

Dave B Says:

A thrilling match to watch. Schiavone was truly inspired and inspiring.

Orville Says:

Samantha Stosur did not choke she just got tight. People need to remember it is a high pressure situation to be in a grand slam final. Francesca just handled the situation better.

Von Says:

Jon Wertheim’s take on the women’s fikal.

A hearty congrats to Schiavone. Way to go Francesca, you deserve it!! Who says age is the ultimate determinant of winning a slam? Well, this WTA final goes to show that one is never too old, young or in-between when it com es to achieving goals. It’s all about heart.

zola Says:

Thanks for the link. Unfortunately it does not work in the US . If you have time can you tell us what it says?

Dan Martin Says:

The women’s tour is in disarray. In 1986 Steffi showed up at the US Open semis, 1987 Sabitini at the French semis, in 89 Seles and Sanchez Vicaro made their presence known at the French, Capriati came on the scene in 1990. 5 stars produced in a 5 year period of time. Now aside from comebacks from players who took a year or two off the women’s tour is not producing and consistent performers who are young enough to have an impact over a long period of time. Venus was last in a non-grass court slam final in what January 2004? She is #2 in the world and is good on other surfaces than grass, but is only great during a 4 week portion of the season. I am glad for FS for winning, but man the women’s tour needs a phenom asap.

Ben Pronin Says:

It should’ve been Sharapova but she’s been plagued by injuries.

Andrew Miller Says:

Dan, maybe Aravane Rezai will be it. I believe in her game far more than others (Azarenka/Radwanska included). Only issue, her serve is “not great”.

I think Rezai, with a better serve, would be it for a period. Her game is labor intensive, and her serve is “a creaf puff,” so she may not make it much further than top 5. Ivanovic would be “it” but she seems “ambivalent at best” about tennis.

Here are some clips, all can judge their talent for themselves. Rezai just hits so hard.

Rezai vs. Serena Williams 2010

Ivanovic vs. Venus Williams 2008

Andrew Miller Says:

This could, of course, just be a blip historically. 1990 saw 8 different slam champs, and so far in 2010, 20 years later, already it will be FOUR different slam champs.

1990 could be 2010.

Eskay Says:

I fully agree. Kim comes back from retirement and wins U.S.O. Justine comes back from retirement and is in A.O final immediately. And the same William sisters continue the eternal favourites. It gives a feeling that women’s tennis has vegetated these years. You did have Navarro who showed promise and vanished. Then you had Oudin. There is no 17-18 year old player making promises of a future great. And that position has remained almost for 5-6 years. Today there is a 29 year old champion on whom greatness has been conferred and now she is going to live on past laurels till retirement. She played great and it was a great match, but a match would always be great even in the qualifying rounds when two equals clash. Sam at 70% versus Schiavone at 110%. People get offended when one talks of no depth in women’s tennis. If there is depth, where is the evidence.

margot Says:

I don’t agree that Stosur “choked.” She was outplayed by Schiavone who had a brilliant game plan- to neutralise Stosur’s forehand and make her go for her backhand which our Sam Smith (commentator) said that Stosur had been forced to play more in the final than in the whole tournament. Schiavone demonstrated this especially well with her serving. Her entusiasm, energy, smart play and guts were a joy to watch.
Promising youngsters? Well, Laura Robson for a start.

colin Says:

Funches, it’s all very well to say Schiavone couldn’t beat the very top players if they were on form, but why do you assume they always are? By your logic, Serena couldn’t lose to Stosur. But she did, didn’t she?

Andrew Miller Says:

Aravane Rezai, with a better serve, is a slam champ. She hits harder than everyone, including Serena Williams. Serena’s serve is superior and her sense of the game is more refined – Serena’s a better tennis player. But Aravane has the raw ingredients.

Aravane Rezai: maybe the Ernest Gulbis (the potential slam winner) of the WTA.

Rezai vs. Serena Williams 2010

Jazzcomedian Says:

I’ve been watching tennis since the ’70s, and womens’ tennis has never had as much depth as it does now. And by depth, I mean the number of players who have a legitimate chance at winning a tournament or Grand Slam with everybody in the field. For the first time that I can remember the women actually have a strong top ten. The fact that a number 17 seed (Schiavone) could win the French proves it. That would’ve been unheard of even five years ago. And she’ll be ranked #6 after this week.

During the ’70s, ’80s up until a few years ago
there was a very few who won all the slams. Evert and Navratilova were automatic finalists that you could write it like clockwork at the beginning of a tournament during their era. Graf and Seles dominated slams during their era with their only worthy competitors being, Davenport, Sanchez-Vicario, Sabatini, and Novotna. The rest of the top ten for women was a joke.

Now we have the Williams sisters, Henin, Clijsters, a healthy Sharapova, Wozniacki, Stosur, Dementieva, Kuznetsova, Jankovic–all legitimate threats to win tournaments. Azarenka’s on the move, Petrova is rejuvenated, and a healthy Safina is tough. There is no dominant woman. Just a bunch of tough women. We have parity and not domination. This has never been the case in women’s tennis until now.

mmm Says:

Funches: You said that Schiavone would not be able to beat Henin or Serena. In fact she has one win over Justine and two over Serena. And I think anyone would have beaten Serena on the day she lost. She was hitting everything out/in the net. I’m not saying she would have beaten either one of them in the French Open final…but then neither one of them played well enough to make the final. She can only beat her opponent. Don’t discredit Francesca because she didn’t personally defeat all 127 other entrants in the draw.

John Hay Says:

Australian Sam Stoser’s loss in the 2010 French Open tennis final will hopefully provide a timely lesson regarding her future at the highest level of the game.

In taking out the title at the Roland Garros Tennis Stadium in Paris, France, the 29 old Italian, Francesca Schiavone, previously ranked number 17 in the world, proved she was a deserving championship winner. Learning from her previous match defeats by the Australian, she drew on a wide range of skills and executed a planned strategy to dampen and disrupt her opponent’s power game. For those fortunate to see the match, her performance was an outstanding display of court craft and shot making choices.

For Sam Stoser, a realistic post match review of her final,will reveal the need to both improve her court craft skills and add to her shot making options. e.g. ( top spin or high sliced lobs can destroy a net rushing opponent) ( running around the backhand to play a forehand shot rather than a backhand invites the opponent to attack the weaker side on their serve and offers an open court on any return).

The Italian’s game fed on the emotion of a specific block of Italian fans wearing T shirts emblazoned with a message proclaiming “nothing is impossible”. After every winning shot she acknowledged them and was rewarded in return. Adrenalin fixes such as these can raise a player’s level of self belief and and thereby performance. These T shirted, message bearing supporters became her focus – theirs was the only acclaim she sought – these were the only voices she wanted to hear. On cue, they delivered – and her growing self confidence was evident.

For Signorina Schiavone that day, peripheral audibility surrounding the red clay heart of Roland Garros must have seemed faint collateral noise. The interaction with her Italian fan base somehow appeared to isolate Sam Stoser and the effect was inescapable. As the match progressed the Australian’s shot selections became more predictable and her returns often appeared hurried, such was the Italian player’s growing confidence, control, unpredictability and focus.

This was the kind of contest that tennis fans everywhere could appreciate and be inspired by. Both finalists were a credit to their sport. They deserve our congratulations for their play, sportsmanship and grace.

John Hay

Orville Says:

Rezai is a joke she had one big moment in Madrid and that’s it. Rezai is out of shape,her serve is predictable, and her attitude is terrible. I think Wozniacki is the young people that should win a slam soon.

ashlea Says:

What the hell does the title of this post even mean? Do you know what the Heimlich is?

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