Thursday, June 07, 2012

2012 FRENCH OPEN Day 12: The Dream Continues

Sara Errani had never beaten a Top 10 player before her win over Angelique Kerber in the quarterfinals on Tuesday. After today's 7-5 1-6 6-3 win against #6 seed champion Samantha Stosur, Errani will become a Top 10 player herself on Monday. The crafty Italian followed in the footsteps of her countrywoman Francesca Schiavone to use her superior movement and guile to outwit, outlast and outplay a strongly favored opponent in Sam Stosur. Stosur had never lost to Errani in 5 meetings, but the Australian appears to prefer to play her best tennis when she is an underdog, like when she won her first major final against Serena Williams at the 2011 US Open. Stosur is now a shocking 6-36 when she loses the first set in a grand slam match. Errani saw her opportunity and seized it, shocking the tennis world (and yours truly) to continue her dream 2012 and reach her first major final. Errani is also the first player since Kim Clijsters in 2003 to reach both the singles and doubles final in the same year here. (Mary Pierce was the last player to win the singles and doubles at Roland Garros in the same year in 2000.)

In the other semifinal,(as I predicted) results followed the rankings as World #2 Maria Sharapova beat her rival World #4 Petra Kvitova 6-3 6-3 to return to the pinnacle of women's tennis, cementing the World #1 ranking regardless of what happens in Saturday's final match. It was a very windy day, and for some reason the hard-hitting Czech was unable to take advantage of any wobbles on the Russian's serve and was also surprisingly ineffective in her own service games. Sharapova now has a 4-2 career head-to-head lead on Kvitova and has won the last three matches these two have played since the Czech shocked Sharapova in the 2011 Wimbledon final. Kvitova has yet to beat a Top 10 player in 2012. Now, Sharapova's dream of completing the career Grand Slam requires one more match win over a player who will be playing in her first major final.

Sania Mirza and Mahesh Bhupathi won the mixed doubles title. Serena Williams and Bob Bryan lost in the 1st round.

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