Sam eyeing French Open fairytale
PARIS, AAP – Sam Stosur is plotting to pen the fairytale final chapter of her unfulfilled French Open love story after storming into the second week in Paris for the sixth time.
A series of heartbreaking near-misses at Roland Garros – most notably the despairing 2010 final loss to Francesca Schiavone – have failed to sap Stosur’s spirit as she closes in on an elusive second Grand Slam title.
At 33, time is running out but Australia’s last singles hope believes she retains control of her own destiny heading into Sunday’s last-16 clash with rising Latvian Jelena Ostapenko.
Yet to drop a set all tournament and riding an eight-match winning streak, Stosur craves the ultimate ending to what she feels has been a decade-long unrequited romance with the claycourt major.
“After losing to Francesca in the final, I would say it was a horrible, sad story,” Stosur said after routing Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-2 6-2 in her milestone 50th match in Paris.
“But as I’ve been able to get over that loss and look at it for what it is on the whole of what I’ve been able to do here, I think it’s great.
“I guess it would be a nice, romantic love story where there’s hopefully still a great finish at the end.”
While Stosur’s 2011 US Open final triumph over Serena Williams remains the crowning moment of her career, her chemistry with the Paris clay has been equally defining.
A four-time semifinalist in the French capital, the former world No.4’s enduring excellence on the slow surface comes despite repeated failures at her home slam at Melbourne Park.
“Everyone kind of goes through ups and downs, but I think the important thing is to know that you’re going to bounce back,” Stosur said.
“And even some of my moments where I feel like I’ve struggled the most or through certain periods, I’ve always believed that I was going to get out of it and play well again and get a good result.
“That’s kind of what I’ve done my whole career is have that bottom-line belief in myself.
“And tennis is a funny sport. You can be down and out, and then you have one good week and things can change dramatically or even one match sometimes.”
That one good week once again occurred in Strasbourg, where Stosur landed her ninth career title in a huge confidence-booster two days before launching her 14th French Open title tilt.
“I feel really comfortable on this surface and obviously these courts are the best in the world, so you can really kind of get into it.
“And if you’re confident, then you can do very well here.”
Victory for the 23rd seed over Ostapenko, the world No.47, would advance Stosur to a quarterfinal against 2009 champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, 11th-seeded former world No.1 Caroline Wozniacki or young American Catherine Bellis.