Errani Wins All-Italian Quarterfinal In NYC
Published September 05, 2012 12:00
NEW YORK, NY, USA - In one of the most subdued Grand Slam quarterfinals in recent memory, Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci - countrywomen, best friends and doubles partners - squared off on Louis Armstrong Stadium on Wednesday afternoon. And after the final point it was Errani who won, 62 64, becoming the first Italian woman in the Open Era to reach the semifinals of the US Open.
But there were no screams of joy or arms in the air - just a slow walk to the net from both players, a warm hug and a quiet clap from Errani to the crowd.
"A quarterfinal with your best friend is difficult," Errani said. "There was a lot of tension. We know each other very well and have played together many times. Normally when we walk out on the court we go together and we speak - today was a bit strange, especially to see her on the other side of the net.
"It's normal that there would be tension today, but I think we played a good match. It wasn't an unbelievable match, but we played a good match."
Both players had pulled off some very big upsets the round before - Errani over No.6 seed Angelique Kerber, Vinci over No.2 seed Agnieszka Radwanska - but on the day it was the No.10-seeded Errani who came out much sharper, hitting 14 winners to 15 unforced errors; meanwhile, the No.20-seeded Vinci had bigger but far less clean numbers, 21 winners to 37 unforced errors.
After taking the first set routinely Errani had broken Vinci's serve twice early in the second set but couldn't consolidate; but she finished the match off with eight points in a row, breaking one more time for 5-4 then serving it out at love.
Errani is not just the first Italian woman in the Open Era to reach the semifinals of the US Open, she is the first Italian woman in the Open Era to reach the semifinals of a Grand Slam outside the French Open - previously it had only happened at Roland Garros, in 2010 (Francesca Schiavone won the title), 2011 (Schiavone finished runner-up) and 2012 (Errani finished runner-up).
"I'm playing well. I feel good on the court with my shots and everything," Errani said afterwards about her career season. "It's the best year of my life. I'm playing very well and my ranking is very high. I just go on the court, fight the best I can and that's it - and by winning more matches I get more confidence, and with that you go on the court thinking you can win more than before."
Errani was asked if she has been doing anything differently. "Well, nothing strange - the same thing I've been doing all my life: try to practice the best I can, try to give everything I have on the court, try to improve every day."