x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Samantha Stosur and Sara Errani to collide in French Open semis

The Australian vows to be more aggressive against Errani, who has been on an excellent run of form of late.

Sara Errani of Italy celebrates victory after her women's singles quarter-final match against Angelique Kerber of Germany. Errani will face Samantha Stosur of Australia next in a semi-final match.
Sara Errani of Italy celebrates victory after her women's singles quarter-final match against Angelique Kerber of Germany. Errani will face Samantha Stosur of Australia next in a semi-final match.

 

Australia's Samantha Stosur will take on Sara Errani of Italy in the French Open semi-finals after both won through in straight sets on Tuesday.

Stosur, the US Open champion, powered past Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia 6-4, 6-1, and Errani, the 21st seed, saw off Angelique Kerber of Germany 6-3, 7-6.

The sixth-seeded Stosur had too much firepower and experience for the 23-year-old Cibulkova and was only briefly under pressure in the second game of the second set when she stood at 0-40 on her serve.

"It's never easy to come out here, with it windy and playing an opponent who was going for it," said the 28 year old from the Gold Coast. "She runs very fast and has quick legs. The last few years have been good for me in Paris. It doesn't get any better than this."

Both players had previously gone deep into the tournament at the French Open with Stosur reaching the final in 2010, where she lost to Francesca Schiavone of Italy, and Cibulkova the semi-finals the previous year.

Stosur vowed to avenge that loss to Schiavone when she meets Errani, saying it was a "tough lesson" that she learned and that she will "play aggressive and try and play my game ... I think the one thing I learnt with the match against Schiavone in the final is that she played more aggressive and really stepped up and did more that day".

Errani's upset win over the hard-hitting Kerber made sure of Italian representation in the semi-finals at Roland Garros for the third year in succession following the trail blazed by compatriot Schiavone, the 2010 champion and runner-up last year.

Errani had never gone beyond the third round of a major before this year's Australian Open when she reached the quarter-finals.

But the 25 year old from Bologna illustrated her dangerwoman status by winning three clay-court titles in Acapulco, Barcelona and Budapest in the run-up to Paris, putting together a 16-match winning streak in the process.

That confidence was translated into her Roland Garros semi-final run which saw her defeat the 2008 champion Ana Ivanovic and 2009 winner Svetlana Kuznetsova. She was on top of her game straight away on Tuesday with a break in the first game, backed up by another in the ninth as the opening set was secured.

Kerber, the 10th seed squandered two set points at 6-5 in the second, and was left to regret it as the Italian took the tiebreaker 7-2.

 

CHINA TAKES NOTICE OF YAROSLAVA SHVEDOVA'S WIN OVER LI NA

French Open quarter-finalist Yaroslava Shvedova has become an internet sensation in China.

The Kazakhstan player, ranked a lowly 142nd in the world, pulled off a major surprise on Monday by beating the defending champion Li Na at Roland Garros.

And Tuesday she was one of the most talked about subjects on Sina Weibo – China’s answer to Twitter – with around 11 million posts mentioning her name.

Chinese tennis fans were divided in their reaction to Li’s defeat, with some critical of the star but others more understanding.

“What’s wrong with Li Na? It must be because she did not thank her mother country last time,” posted one user of Sina Weibo.

Another blamed Li’s “mood swings” for her defeat, saying they were the 30-year-old world No 7’s “major weakness”, after she had a meltdown in the second set and never recovered to lose 3-6, 6-2, 6-0.

But other bloggers were more forgiving. “Who can be champion forever?” asked one, while another compared Li to Serena Williams – who went out in the first round – and advised her to “take a rest and keep fighting”.

Shvedova, who reached a career high ranking of No 29 two years ago after reaching the quarter-finals of Roland Garros, had fallen down the ratings in singles, as she began the year ranked No 201 and had to play ITF Futures events to get her confidence back and her ranking high enough so she would even have a chance to qualify for the majors.

Shvedova plays the fourth-seeded Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in the quarter-finals Wednesday.

sports@thenational.ae

twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE