Errani ousts erratic Stosur

Underdog Italian survives grim battle with fancied fourth-seed Australian

Errani ousts erratic Stosur

Underdog Sara Errani upset the heavy-hitting sixth seed Samantha Stosur 7-5, 1-6, 6-3 at the French Open on Thursday to reach her first Grand Slam final.

The nimble-footed Italian, who stands only 1.64 metres tall, had been expected to struggle with Stosur’s high, kicking serve and heavy topspin groundstrokes, but after losing the opening two games she quickly got on top.

She stepped inside the baseline to take the Stosur serve early and edged the first set with some deep, penetrating groundstrokes.

The Australian struck back, however, with a dominant display of power hitting in the second set which she wrapped up in only 36 minutes.

The 28-year-old Stosur might have hoped her experience would help her kick-on in the decider, but it was the favourite who tightened up and froze on the big stage.

The 21st seed claycourt specialist, who had already knocked out former champions Ana Ivanovic and Svetlana Kuznetsova, exchanged breaks with Stosur at the start of the decider before capitalising on a string of unforced errors to wrap up the match.
“I have no words, it is incredible,” a teary-eyed Errani, who collapsed on to her back in her moment of victory, told an on court interviewer.

Errani will play the winner of Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova’s semifinal against second seed Maria Sharapova on Saturday.

Wary Ferrer

Such is Rafa Nadal’s vice-like grip on the French Open that his semifinal opponent David Ferrer concedes beating him is ‘almost impossible’.

Ferrer is a claycourt specialist who has dropped only one set en route to the last four culminating in a straightforward victory over fourth seed Andy Murray on Wednesday. But such is the six-time champion Nadal’s dominance in Paris, that Ferrer knows the odds are stacked enormously against him when the pair meet on Friday.

“I think you can win a set against Rafa, but there is a difference between winning a set and winning a match,” he told reporters. “Winning a match against Rafa is almost impossible. He is in such good shape.”

Ferrer has won only four of 15 matches against the Mallorcan battler and his only claycourt success came eight years ago.

The pair have played twice this year, in Spain and in Rome, and Nadal has won both without conceding a set.

“Each match is different. In Godo, I had to be slightly more aggressive and I made mistakes. He also was very aggressive in exploiting the mistakes that I had committed.”

“In Rome it was different, because I had opportunities to win a set, but he played extremely well -- I tried.”

Briton Andy Murray hopes waving goodbye to the red dust of Paris and saying hello to the green grass of home will help him overcome the troublesome back injury that plagued him.  Murray will now return to Britain to prepare for the short grasscourt season that culminates with Wimbledon, starting at the end of the month.

Back problem

The Scot had been troubled by a problem with his lower back at Roland Garros and needed three on-court massages to come through his second round match with Jarkko Nieminen.

“I think the grass will probably help a bit,” Murray told reporters. “You’re not having to generate as much power because the ball is coming into you a little bit more and doesn’t get up as high as it does on the clay.” Murray has had on-going problems with his back and had to withdraw from the Madrid Masters last month before arriving in Paris. It seems there is no easy solution to the problem and he will have to get used to managing the injury.

“We’ll see how it feels over the next few months,” he said. “I’m sure I’ll have to answer questions about it many times over the next few months.

“Every player has niggles, everybody has problems from time to time and everyone has to find ways of dealing with them.”

Comments (+)