French Open Rematch, Greta Does It Again
Published May 12, 2011 12:00
ROME, Italy - A year ago they met on one of the world's biggest stages, and now they will do the same, as Francesca Schiavone and Samantha Stosur will square off in the quarterfinals of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia.
Stosur, the No.6 seed, was the first to win, stopping Slovenian qualifier Polona Hercog, 63 64. Stosur was a perfect 10 for 10 in serve games, saving all three break points against her, and snuck in one break of Hercog's serve per set.
"Since coming over to Europe I feel I've played quite well and it's great to be getting a few matches each week," Stosur said. "Everyone I'd heard talk about Polona said she's very talented and can do whatever she wants with the ball. Drop shot winner, forehand winner or error - I had to just worry about my own game and whenever an opportunity arose to get ahead, try and take it."
Two years ago, Stosur made her first Grand Slam semifinal at the French Open; last year, she made her first Grand Slam final there. The clay court season seems to bring the best out of her. "I was playing decently all year, but I wasn't getting too many wins until the last month or so. To put wins back to back each week is pretty pleasing. I'm feeling pretty comfortable out there."
Schiavone, seeded No.2 this week, had a much tougher fight on her hands, battling for over two and a half hours to get past Daniela Hantuchova, 36 62 75. After Hantuchova tucked away the first set, Schiavone stormed through the second set and built a 3-1 lead in the third; Hantuchova got back on serve to 4-all and 5-all but Schiavone broke her one last time then served it out.
"It'll be a big match here in Italy," Stosur said of the match with Schiavone. "It'll be the first time we've played on clay since the French Open - we've played on hardcourts a couple times since then. Obviously I'm expecting a tough one."
In the other quarterfinal on the bottom half of the draw, No.4 seed Li Na will face Greta Arn, after Li cruised past Jarmila Gajdosova in just 64 minutes, 62 61, and Arn won a three-hour, 10-minute marathon against Elena Vesnina, 36 76(3) 76(3). Arn rallied from 5-3 deficits in both the second and third sets, and even saved two match points in a row trailing 5-3 in that deciding set.
Arn has been living on the edge all week - in the first round she faced four match points in a marathon victory over No.11 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova.
"I don't do anything differently on match points, things have just been going my way. I wish it could be like this every week!" Arn beamed. "Playing here in Roma is great. It's my base and I have a lot of support here. I love Roma!"
Li leads Arn in their head-to-head series, 1-0, although that meeting came 11 years ago at an ITF Women's Circuit event. "Li is a very strong and good player, but honestly I'm not thinking anything," Arn said. "I don't know if this is positive or negative but I'm just happy to face anybody tomorrow because I'm happy to be in the quarterfinals! And also playing on Pietrangeli. Fantastico!"
This is Arn's second Premier-level quarterfinal. Her first came almost exactly a year ago when she made the semifinals of Warsaw, also on clay.
"I remember I played good matches and it was raining all week," she added. "One day outdoors, one day indoors. But it was a fantastic week for me."