Google Down the Line!: It's Sam vs. Fran for the ladies' Roland Garros crown!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

It's Sam vs. Fran for the ladies' Roland Garros crown!

Okay, ready for my imitation of the Roland Garros ladies' semifinals?


Let's start with the first semi which saw Francesca Schiavone reach her first ever Grand Slam final when Elena Dementieva retired with the recurrence of the left calf injury she sustained during her second round match with the score at 7-6 (3) in favor of Fran.

The pair played their tried-and-true games: the Russian blasted groundies and worked to control the center of the court while the Italian played D until she had a ball she could pummel with heavy topspin. However, the injury was already taking its toll and once Fran took the set Elena called it quits - the first time in 43 major appearances.

Fran was asked about this surge so late in her career:

Q. Okay. Second one: Is why is that success coming so late for you?

FRANCESCA SCHIAVONE: Why late? I think everybody are different. Could be late for you, could be good for you. I think it's my time now. Maybe before I wasn't ready.
Maybe before I had the chance I didn't catch, so I think now I have just to live and to keep going to work like I did for many years.

Q. What are your chances for the final? You think you can win the final on Saturday?

FRANCESCA SCHIAVONE: 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.

It was sad to see Elena in tears both because of the pain but also because you know she was very disappointed at losing another opportunity to grab that major. Her chances are dwindling and the draw really did work itself out for someone to finally break through. She will be skipping Eastbourne and is unsure about Wimbledon for now. Tough stuff.

The second semifinal saw the giant-killer Sam Stosur comprehensively destroy Jelena Jankovic 6-1, 6-2 from every part of the court: serve, return, groundies, defense, etc. It was a remarkable performance from the Aussie who will go in as the heavy fave to capture her first Grand Slam crown.

She made JJ look like an amateur out there with her big game yet calm, quiet demeanor - a silent killer if you will. The Serb never had the opportunity to use her backhand into Sammie's weaker backhand because of the 7th seed's ability to run around and hit her forehand and control points. JJ was left scrambling and hitting off balance - a perfect recipe for unforced errors (22 UEs against only 9 winners.)

Surprisingly Sammie never showed any signs of mental fatigue or an emotional letdown which you would expect after having defeated Serena Williams + Justine Henin, past champs here and lady ballers with a combined 19 major singles titles between them. She was very workwomanlike and played like she owned Philippe Chatrier Court. Well she did own it today and wiped it clean with JJ.

So what's the biggest difference in the Aussie's game is now versus a few years ago? She told the press:

Oh, 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.

So it's Sam vs. Fran and their new fangled and apparently effective Babolat black RPM Blast String for the whole damn thing (incidentally, just got my racquet strung with these babies!) I mean, WHO WUDDA THUNK IT? And if you say "me" then you're a liar, except for Van Sias who somehow picked the Italian to make the final in his VANtage Point post.

I raise my glass of sangria to you, sir. Cheers!

[Photo(s): Getty Images]


  1. This is so sad for the women's game. In the U.S. only 20 of us die hard, crazy, slightly masochisitic tennis fans will be watching. I'm not trying to knock Sam and Francesca because I think they both have amazing undervalued games but it's the sad truth. In a time when the women's game is known for being inconsistent and weak this does no one any favors. Don't even get me started on what a marketing nighmare this is. As much as anyone may dislike well known players like Sharapova or the Williams sisters, their presence in slam finals helps grow the game which in the long run is good for everyone's favorites.

    I'll be watching tomorrow. I doubt many will join me.

  2. I'm def a masochist so I'll be with you watching. We just need 18 more.

  3. i'm down!

    ps. Aussie Aussie Aussie!

    17 others?

  4. It might be a marketing nightmare for the networks but it can't be any worse than last year's Safina/Sveta final that had more angst than a Strindberg play. Stosur must win, not only to cap off a great event, but to prove all the other major wins weren't for nothing. Plus the tour needs another name out there. And the fact that Sam is an Aussie won't be a big deal. I have a feeling she will be embraced by the U.S. public much as Kim Clijsters has.

    But of course Sam has to win it first.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...