Serena Williams lost her Roland Garros quarter final today in an exciting three-set match against Svetlana Kuznetsova. It was big hitting tennis from both sides, with balls streaking down the lines and into the corners of the court. Kuzy ripped some screaming forehands and Serena served huge at clutch moments.
Even more impressive than the shotmaking was Kuznetsova’s new-found mental toughness. After failing to serve out the match in the second set, I thought Kuzy was ready to pack up her brain and very soon after, her bags. She’d lost the same opportunities to Serena in Australia this year, and we all know how that turned out. The third set just belonged to Serena, even more so after she saved two match points on her serve.
Kuzy thought so, too:
“It was same scenario as Australian Open. It was identically. In second set, third set I was pushing myself to fight, and still she was break up. With her it’s a big difference. She started to serve great, and I’m very proud that I push myself and I could fight still for the third set.”
Maybe she noticed during her bathroom break that Sam Stosur was into the semis and remembered: Nothing goes as expected at this year’s French Open.
Another shocker – Serena Williams abdicated her “Real No. 1” position in the post-match press conference:
Q. If Safina wins the title here, will that authenticate her as the world No. 1, do you think?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I already think she’s definitely authenticated as the world No. 1. She’s there. She has won four tournaments.
The “Battle of the Real No. 1s” final isn’t meant to be. So now I’m hoping for the “Battle of the Super Talented Russian Headcases,” who are also the best two players on clay this season.
Of course, Cibulkova and/or Stosur may throw a wrench into the twisted, churning works of Roland Garros. Normally, I’d say “no chance” (Stosur hasn’t won a singles title on tour) but at this point, who the heck knows what’s going to happen? And it’s hard not to root for someone when she says things like this:
Q. The first time reaching a Grand Slam semifinal. How do you feel?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: Um, just over the moon, happy, excited. Every single positive emotion I think possible at the moment.
For what it’s worth: Kuznetsova and Stosur have only played once – five years ago in Bali, with Kuznetsova winning. Safina and Cibulkova have met two times, both on hardcourts in 2008, with Safina dominating with straight set victories.
Both women’s semi final matches will be played tomorrow (Thursday) on Court Philippe Chatrier. Click here for the T.V. schedule.