A matter of inches

For an awful split second, Sam Stosur feared her French Open campaign was over. It was certainly out of her hands.

Having blown the chance to bury Serena Williams in the second set on centre court at Roland Garros, the Queenslander had a match point against her deep in the third set.

The next she knew she had served the ball and was rushing to the net, forcing the world No.1 to pass her.

The American hit a forehand that was out of her reach and Stosur’s initial thought was the ball was going long. Well long. Wasn’t it?

Her tennis instincts kicked in, suddenly the ball wasn’t travelling so rapidly through the air.

“It kind of held up in some way but … thank god it went out by a little bit,” Stosur told AAP.

“I definitely looked at the linesman to check that his arm did go out and I wasn’t just hearing a voice and that the ball was out.”

The ball landed just inches beyond the baseline to her immense relief.

She levelled the scores shortly afterwards and four games later had served out the match for a nail-chomping 6-2 6-7 (2-7) 8-6 quarter-final victory.

Having letting it slip at 5-3 on serve in the second set, Stosur said she had to slam the door shut on the fightback queen second time around.

“When I got that next chance (to serve it out) at 7-6, I wasn’t going to let the same thing happen again,” she said.

“To come back from that point (in losing the second set) and be match point down (and survive), it makes it extra special in a way.”

Understandably, 2002 Roland Garros champion Williams wasn’t in the mood post-match for detailed reflection on the turning point.

“She hit a good serve,” she said.

“You know, I don’t have anything to regret on that point.

“It was almost luck that I made that one shot.”

But Stosur probably deserves such a break.

After all, she has come back from career-threatening Lyme’s disease which robbed her of a year of her career in 2007-08.

Her performances in defeating four-time champion Justine Henin and Williams in successive matches in Paris have been even more exceptional considering that it was only five months ago she was buckling under the weight of expectation before the Australian Open.

And both Henin and Williams, with 19 grand slams between them, had Stosur on the ropes at Roland Garros but couldn’t finish off the Australian.

Sure, she isn’t completely bombproof in tight situations just yet.

But she is using her horror stories from the past to fire her up instead of cripple her.

One of Stosur’s most shattering losses came at the hands of Williams at the Medibank International in January last year.

The Australian had four match points on her lethal serve and butchered them all to allow the American to win the last three games of the contest.

“It did kind of creep into my mind for a split second, that we have played a match that has gone down to the wire before today and I had opportunities,” she said.

“It was not a negative thought, it was more a spur on, you can actually do it this time.

“I think I really proved that to myself that I can do it.”

  • MooM Zee

    Good luck STOSi (a new nick name, hhhha)
    YoU aRe ThE bEsT…
    Best wishes…

  • Great tennis we watch the match and were with you all the way.
    Congratulations.Our best wishes for your next game.
    Alan and Beverley from Bowral NSW

  • Tom

    Sam, you were brilliant. So focused and tough.

    It was the best tennis match of 2010 I have seen. Keep going and just enjoy yourself.

    Have fun. We are with you.

  • fan

    good on you

  • Darryl Evans

    Hello Sam,
    You’re about to play your semi-final and I’ll be screaming my head off for you. I think you’re gorgeous and play beautiful tennis.
    Go for it!

  • bittler charles

    bjr samantha je suis un francais et j habite en alsace je suis tres fan de vous est je vous souhaite bonne chance pour la finale j adore vous voir jouer je ne loupe aucun match de vous je me permet de vous embrassez tres tres fort de plus je suis né aussi le 30 03 mais en 1971 a bientot j espere avoir de vos nouvelles grosse bises a vous

  • Mikee

    You did it! The final! So proud of you. All the way to the top! :-)

  • Da Rocha

    Bonjour , je viens de regarder votre demi-finale , match parfait en intelligence de jeu , bravo Sam .
    Reste ce Samedi pour inscrire votre nom au palmares , moi aussi , j’y crois !
    Encore bravo .

  • Drine

    Of course you can do it Sam !!!! We all believe in you, you can go all the way in Paris !!!!
    This is the year of Sam Stosur :)))))

    Go Sam !!!!!

  • Proud Aussie

    Loving your tennis Sam. Congrats for beating Serena – what a match. Wishing you the best of luck against Jelena. Go Aussie!!

  • Jim

    Samantha, Congrats!!!!!!!!!!!!!!,, Your my hero! Fantastic match with Serena. Sooo proud of you for not “losing it” after dropping the second set after having the lead and hanging tough and not backing down like most opponents do playing the Williams sisters. Again, Great win and good luck til the end.
    Jim… USA.

  • Phil

    Go hard Sam show that Roland Garros mob what its like when you tangle with a real Aussie !

  • Marc

    Wonderfull Samantha. You can win Roland Garros.
    I'm from Belgium, fight to the last time, win !

  • Nigel Rogers

    Sam, you legend. Go girl.

  • Deb

    Go Sam!!!

  • Tony Nix

    Samantha, you are playing the best in the world right now. I am just watching the other semi final and thay are not in your class. Believe in yourself! And win!
    Best of luck from a Sydney badge player

  • Sunsets

    I'm not sure how many times I've said that I'm so proud of you but I can't help but say it again. After you lost your serve in the second set, it just seemed like the Medibank International all over again. But then you hold your nerve, somehow managed to hold off Serena and broke her. You managed to serve for the set for the second time and that just takes guts. The improvement in you is amazing and if you can keep this up, there's no telling what you can do. All the best against JJ. The Smash 'em Sam family from all around the world will be there supporting you, as always ;)

  • Suzie

    Go Sammy! You can do it!

  • Joan

    Cant wait to watch your game tonight Sam, go you good thing.

  • Joan

    All the best for tonite Sam.

  • V. Laing


  • Leon

    Sam, you played great and deserved that win, keep on playing like this and you will take the title

  • Rachel Harmes

    Well done chickie!! you are doing Aust. very proud :)

  • Anita

    Focus & Strategy! Sweet Dreams Saturday Night in Paris holding the FOT! You CAN!
    Good Luck & Best Wishes!

  • Walter




  • azhar

    hello _ what is happening in the second set it's not good

  • only one more match – and you are the new winner of Roland Garros !!
    congratulations !

  • SaltWaterr

    We have all been waiting to see you in the final, now you are there. Good luck… and WELL DONE!!!

  • Risa

    You are awesome Sam, you just show NO weakness! I am so excited for you and I know you are going to be the champ. Keep up the good work and that Awesome Aussie attitude. #1 here Sam comes!

  • Jewels

    Well Done on the Semi win at the French Open. Lovely to see an Aussie up there. A Wendy Turnbull fan from way back it is nice to see you doing so well. Congratulations and Good Luck for Saturday but with your mind set as it currently stands you will do it!!!
    Go Aussie Go!

  • vick

    Congratulations on reaching the final of the French Open. Saw the semifinals match awesome power!!!!
    Australia will be behind you all the away

  • Bill

    Just watched your match against Jankovic. You looked unstoppable. Good luck on Saturday.

  • Jewels

    Great to see you win tonight. You deserved it well and truly. Good luck for Saturday but you have the mindset and the ability. Now living in WA but a Queenslander originally as you were and a Wendy Turnbull fan from way back (her mum and mine went to school together) so following Aussie Women's tennis was inherited. GO SAMANTHA GO!!

  • Leanne

    Well done Sam!! Such a fantastic game – congrats on getting to the final – we will all be cheering you on from Aus on Sat in the final. Good Luck :)

  • mertens marina

    dear sam
    again a good match. congratulations .
    i hope you will win the final at roland garros.

  • Bec

    Just watched your semi against Jelena Jankovic and it was just WONDERFUL to watch you play so brilliantly. What a privilege it is to see you achieve so much for yourself and for us, your fellow Aussies. You're going to win the whole thing and we will be jumping off our couch cheering every single point! Many thanks, it's such fun.

  • Ameli

    What a powerful play, Sam!
    Jankovic was just stunned.
    She really didn't know what to do.
    2010 Roland Garros trophy is yours, kiddo. ;)

  • Ove (Aland Islands, Finland)

    What a match against Jelena Jankovic! You played such a fantastic match once again. Hope you will have fortune in the French Open final.

  • Rena

    Congrats SAMI on defeating jankovic :D :D :D
    you can't believe how happy i am .I wish u all the good luck .plz plz plz win this Championship :)

  • Cindy Hamil

    Fabulous, Sam! You've simply been the best player at Roland Garros! Congratulations on your arrival in the finals. Win this thing!

  • Nolwenn

    Cheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrsssssssss Go for it!
    The Titel Suzanne Lenglen is waiting with open arms for you Samy

  • Oscar Tienda

    You are number 1, and i see the tv this saturday when you win, i love you

  • John

    Sam has all of the tools to be #1 in the world. She has the big serve, she hits hard with topspin,
    she moves well, has great footwork, and she doesn't get too high or too low. Being a great doubles
    player has definitely helped her with her singles and I look for great things from her in the future
    starting with the French Open where she will win her first grand slam singles title. GO SAM!!!

  • Go SAM Go!!! Australia is behind you – we'll be watching Saturday night…..YOU'LL BE NUMBER 1