Samantha Stosur’s unfinished French Open business
Samantha Stosur has arrived in Paris looking to complete some unfinished business at the French Open starting on Sunday.
SAMANTHA STOSUR has arrived in Paris looking to complete some unfinished business at the French Open starting on Sunday.
Roland Garros was the scene of Stosur’s greatest career disappointment, a shattering loss to Francesca Schiavone in the 2010 final, a year after dumping the Italian from the first round in straight sets.
On the flip side, the clay court major was also the tournament that marked Stosur’s remarkable revival from career-threatening illness with an unexpected charge to the semi-finals in 2009.
Three years on and the reigning US Open champion has returned to the French capital determined not to be a one-slam wonder.
“It’s funny how things always change as months move on and you get certain results,” Stosur told AAP.
“Before I won the US Open of course I just said I’d love to win one grand slam. But now I’m not settling for that.
“I’ve got one. Now I’d like to get two and you don’t want to finish there.”
Before reaching the last four in Paris three years ago, Stosur considered clay by far her worst.
Having mastered the art of bossing her opponents around from the baseline with her high-kicking serve and brutal forehand, Stosur has since racked up 50 wins on the slow surface.
The 28-year-old Queenslander has won 14 of her past 17 matches in Paris and openly admits to feeling more at home these days at Roland Garros than Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena.
“Ever since that semi-final run in ’09 I’ve felt really comfortable on the courts and just really enjoyed playing here,” Stosur said.
“It’s got a great atmosphere and it just feels nice to be here.”
Unlike during her forgettable Australian summer, featuring a first-round Australian Open loss, Stosur insists she’s feeling little pressure ahead of the season’s second major.
“It’s just more excitement to play,” said the world No.6.
“It’s the last opportunity to play on clay for the year and you want to try and do as best as you can because it is such a short period of the year and I really enjoy this time.
“I’m just wanting to get out there and hopefully play lots and lots of matches and do well.
“It’s comforting to know that you have played well on these courts and you can use that.”
Stosur is 13 from 17 on clay in 2012, with two of her defeats coming against Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova, the two French Open favourites who have collected five claycourt titles between them this season.
Stosur, the Open’s fourth favourite, also lost to Venus Williams last week in Rome and to Czech Lucie Hradecka on Madrid’s maligned blue courts.
“I’ve been playing really quite well so not too much to be disappointed about,” she said.
As the sixth seed, Stosur is guaranteed not to run into a higher-ranked player until at least the quarter-finals.
She will be joined in Friday’s draw by a few other Australians involved in the French Open with Jarmila Gajdosova, Anastasia Rodionova, Casey Dellacqua and teenage wildcard Ashleigh Barty all set to play on the French clay. However Olivia Rogowska, Isabella Holland and Sacha Jones have all failed to make the main draw after losing in the first round of qualifying on Wednesday.
Bernard Tomic, the No .28 seed, veteran wildcard Lleyton Hewitt and Matthew Ebden are Australia’s only three direct entrants in the men’s main draw.
Former junior finalist Greg Jones could join the trio after downing Frenchman Kenny de Schepper 6-4 3-6 6-3 in the second round of qualifying on Thursday.
Jones will play another local, wildcard Nicolas Devilder, on Friday for a spot in the 128-man main draw.
But Australian top seed Marinko Matosevic lost his second-round qualifier 6-4 6-3 to French veteran Marc Gicquel. – AAP