Sam Stosur to face tennis world No.1 Azarenka at US Open
Samantha Stosur is the irresistible force, Victoria Azarenka the immovable object and they will clash in the quarter-finals of the US Open on Tuesday.
SAMANTHA STOSUR is the irresistible force, Victoria Azarenka the immovable object and they will clash in the quarter-finals of the US Open on Tuesday.
Stosur survived a daring challenge from giant-killing British teenager Laura Robson to set up the heavyweight showdown with her Belarusian nemesis and world No.1 with a tense 6-4 6-4 fourth-round triumph.
Victory came on Stosur’s ninth match point after the defending champion had to fight back from a service break down in the opening set and then weather a late storm from the free-wheeling Robson in the second.
Stosur is now riding an 11-match winning streak in New York and has dropped only 21 games in her first four outings this campaign – but she has never beaten Azarenka.
Or even come close in six encounters.
Australia’s big hope is about to face her US Open acid test.
“I have not done well against her in the past,” said Stosur, not hiding from the fact.
“There’s a few things I’ve learnt over those last few matches. Hopefully I can put all those into play and have a better match – and hopefully a very good one.
“I’ll look forward to that opportunity again. Quarter-finals of another slam, you’ve got to give it everything you’ve got.”
Azarenka, who crushed Georgia’s Anna Tatishvili to reach her first quarter-final at Flushing Meadows, is giving Stosur due respect.
“She’s very dangerous,” the top seed said.
“What she did here last year was absolutely amazing. It’s definitely going to be a very difficult match.
“As defending champion, she’s going to be really motivated. I’m motivated as well.”
The truth is Stosur has never been able to cope with Azarenka’s fearless back-court aggression and will need to produce a special performance to finally conquer the reigning Australian Open champion.
“She just stays very close in the court, stays on the baseline, returns very well, and takes time away from you,” Stosur said.
“You’ve got to be absolutely 100 per cent prepared. You have to be ready as soon as you serve, just have your mindset and your game plan and really stick to it.”
Stosur says her tough battle with Robson, who attacked the titleholder at every opportunity, was a great dress rehearsal for Azarenka.
“A bunch of the girls play like that nowadays. It’s one of these game styles you have to get used to,” the Queenslander said.
“If you’re going to win tournaments like this, you’re going to have to play against someone who plays that way.
“Laura tried to attack, stay at the baseline, and especially at the start was really going for it.
“It was a really good match and definitely one that I maybe needed going to the quarters.”
With nothing to lose in her first last-16 appearance at a grand slam and having already eliminated three-times champion Kim Clijsters and in-form ninth seed Li Na , the 89th-ranked Robson came out swinging and full of confidence.
But living by the sword, Robson – who won the junior Wimbledon crown at 14 – ultimately died by it, committing 41 unforced errors in only 20 games as Stosur advanced after one hour and 38 minutes.
If Stosur can navigate a way past Azarenka, she will play either French Open champion Maria Sharapova or Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli for a spot in the final.
Third-seeded Sharapova overcame a rain delay and third-set deficit to beat fellow Russian Nadia Petrova 6-1 4-6 6-4 in their fourth-round match, while 11th-seeded Bartoli upset Czech fifth seed Petra Kvitova 1-6 6-2 6-0. - AAP