Stosur beats Williams in a French Open thriller
Sam Stosur has shown remarkable fighting qualities to recover from a second-set collapse and defeat world No.1 Serena Williams in a three-set French Open quarter-final at Roland Garros.
Stosur was in charge, leading 5-3 in the second set and serving for the match, before tightening up and allowing Williams to launch one of her trademark fightbacks.
The Australian bounced back to produce some stunning tennis late in the deciding set to claim victory 6-2 6-7 (2-7) 8-6 in two hours and 24 minutes and move into the semi-finals for the second straight year.
The quarter-final win kept alive Stosur’s dream of becoming the nation’s first singles title holder at Roland Garros since Margaret Court in 1973.
The Australian turned the 12-time major winner into a nervous wreck in the opening set on centre court, mixing up her power game with a backhand slice to rattle the American.
But Stosur opened the door for Williams by dropping serve late in the second set and she is not the player to give a second chance.
Many thought that it would be the American that would hold her nerve late in the third set but it was Stosur that produced two stunning passing shots to break Williams’ serve.
And the second time around, the Australian got the job done.
She will meet fourth seed Jelena Jankovic in the semi-finals with Williams having been the last player in the draw with a grand slam to her name.
Stosur earlier walked onto a far from full Court Philippe Chatrier in cool, clear conditions and quickly started attacking Williams’ second serve.
The American fended off two break points in the third game but once the Australian cracked her serve, the wheels started falling off for Williams and Stosur wrapped up the first set in 36 minutes.
The 12-time major winner looked like she was falling to pieces on serve in the second game of the second set but at 0-40 had a crucial overrule of a second serve fault and she held serve.
Stosur kept putting Williams under pressure on serve but the American managed to keep on wriggling out of trouble.
In desperation, the 2002 champion even tried to charge the Queenslander’s serve at one stage with the ball flying straight past her swinging racquet.
She eventually broke Williams in the eighth game and the world No.1 looked clueless and almost in tears before Stosur stepped up to serve for the match at 5-3.
But the Gold Coaster wobbled in her service game and Williams is the one player that needs to be finished off.
Stosur served her first double fault of the match and slipped at a crucial moment as Williams pulled off her first break of the game.
The American is renowned for climbing off the canvas and she lifted noticeably as she captured the tiebreak 7-2 to push the contest into a third set.
Emboldened by her recovery, Williams started playing more freely as Stosur tried to come to terms with why she was still out on court.
The American looked like she had Stosur on the ropes with the Australian 2-3 and 0-30 on serve before she hit her way out of trouble.
Williams continued to put the pressure on Stosur and at 4-5 missed a simple volley before shanking a forehand to allow Williams a match point.
Williams pushed her forehand just long and Stosur kept her nerve to hold at 5-5 before managing another escape to level it up at 6-6.
The Australian finally forced some pressure onto Williams and she pulled off two brilliant passing shots to hand herself another chance to serve for the match.
Williams felt she had blown the match.
“It was me, it was my match and I lost it,” she said.
“That’s basically what happened.”
She said she had been surprised with her performance.
“I was definitely off, I did not play as well as I did in my other four rounds. Had I played better for two minutes, maybe the result could have been better. But is didn’t work out.”© AAP 2013