Errani's French Open Dream Run Continues
Published June 07, 2012 12:00
PARIS, France - Sara Errani's dream French Open fortnight became even more fantastic on Thursday, as she outfoxed Sam Stosur to not only reach her first Grand Slam final, but also to book her spot in the world's Top 10.
The No.6-seeded Stosur took the clear role as aggressor, using her big serve and huge forehand to rack up 46 winners during the match to Errani's 22. But in the important moments Errani was just too solid, her 21 unforced errors being far outweighed by Stosur's 48, and the No.21-seeded Italian saved her best for last, winning 12 of the last 15 points of the match for a 75 16 63 victory.
"I didn't think I could do this coming into the tournament. Never. This is just incredible for me," Errani said. "The first round here was difficult, this match was difficult, all the matches have been difficult, and I'm very happy how I've played.
"The most important thing for me is I'm just thinking about playing - I'm just playing my game without thinking of what I'm doing. But I'm not finished."
Errani had lost all five of her previous meetings with Stosur. "When I lost to her in Rome a few weeks ago, I felt the match also depended on me, not just her," Errani said. "It was a bad thing because I didn't think I played a good match there, but it was a good thing because I knew I just needed to play better."
Errani had already had a breakthrough fortnight - first Top 10 win in 29 tries in the quarterfinals, first Grand Slam semifinal - but she has raised her own bar, reaching her first Grand Slam final and assuring herself a spot in the Top 10 (the third Italian to do so, after Flavia Pennetta and Francesca Schiavone).
"I don't feel like Top 10 now but I will be, so it's strange," Errani added. "After this tournament I just have to relax and think. Maybe my problem before was I didn't believe too much that I could win against the strongest players - but now I beat three in a row. So maybe I have to think a bit differently now."
There was some foreshadowing of this run - Errani won 16 straight clay court matches earlier this year, winning titles at Acapulco, Barcelona and Budapest.
Stosur was in her fourth Grand Slam semifinal and is now 2-2 in those, reaching the final of the 2010 French Open (losing to Schiavone) and winning the 2011 US Open (beating Serena Williams in the final) but falling in the semis here in 2009 (to Svetlana Kuznetsova) and 2012 - with which she was disappointed.
"It was too up and down. I didn't do it at the times when it obviously mattered," Stosur said. "I got a little bit on the back foot, which kind of got me in that 3-0 hole in the third set, and I couldn't afford to do that. I paid the ultimate price.
"I'm capable of doing more, and I didn't for whatever reason."
But the Australian still looked forward. "I'll probably take a couple of days off. You've got to go through whatever emotions and let it all sink in. If I wake up tomorrow and feel like going for a hit I'll go for a hit, but chances are I won't.
"I hope I can look forward to Wimbledon. That's always been a very tough tournament for me, but I guess in some ways that's the beauty of tennis, that you can have a really crap day and then there's another tournament the next week and you have a chance to really redeem yourself very quickly.
"And of course I'm going to come back here next year and the year after and the year after. Hopefully one day I can win this tournament. It's a great event, it suits me, and I've come close - hopefully one day it will happen."