Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Opportunity Knocks - Who Will Answer?

Stosur knocks out world No. 1 Serena Williams

Australian Sam Stosur nearly let this one slip away. Well, let me rephrase that and say that 12-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams nearly stormed back to claim what she felt was rightfully hers.

But Serena, who fought valiantly in the latter phases of the second set to finally snatch her first break of the match, was unable to capitalize on a match point and eventually fell to the hard hitting Stosur, 6-2, 6-7(2), 8-6.

Stosur's victory eliminates the last of the former Grand Slam champions from the draw, clearing the path for four semi finalists who have never ascended to such heights.

Thanks to Stosur, the consensus picks of many pundits - French Open wizard Justine Henin and career Grand Slam title leader Serena Williams - were eliminated in what has to be the finest two-match stretch of the 26-year-old Aussie's career. In defeating Henin and Serena back-to-back, Stosur is giving indication that her run to the French Open semi finals in 2009 may be just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what she can do on clay (19-2 record in 2010).

But Stosur isn't the only hero in waiting.

Just two matches from glory at Roland Garros, all four of the women's semi finalists - Stosur, Jelena Jankovic, Francesca Schiavone, and Elena Dementieva - can be buoyed by the fact that the daunting spectres of Serena and Justine are no longer in the mix.

It will now become a question of magic. Not literally of course, but figuratively, as in which player can summon the power of their desire and transform it into big points at big junctures of their upcoming matches.

Will it be Stosur, who has made such great strides on the clay since her emergence in 2009?

Will it be Jankovic, a two-time Roland Garros semi finalist who seems to have a knack for navigating the high pressure moments of big matches?

Will it be Schiavone, who has never been this far but seems to be playing as if there is air - not clay - under her feet?

Or will it be Dementieva, the soulful veteran, who has pulled at all our heartstrings so many times in the past?

It can't be all of them, but for the first time ever, it will be one of them.

1 comment:

  1. Wild and unpredictable day much like the entire draw. Stosur looked so comfortable and dominating today against JJ. This is her title to lose.

    Meanwhile, my heart does go out to Elena. I know how a tricky a calf injury is. The only way it can heal is with time. If Elena can't play the big W it will be a shame.


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