Category Archives: Sam Stosur

And Then There Were Four…

So the semifinals are set. Kim Clijsters vs Sam Stosur, followed by Caroline Wozniacki vs Vera Zvonareva.

As we know, yesterday Kim Clijsters and Vera Zvonareva faced each other. It was quite an interesting situation as both were already through, but their semifinal opponent would depend on who won the match. It comes as no surprise that Kim looked like she couldn’t care less. Before the match she said that she was just treating it as a practice match, and that is exactly what she did. On the other hand Vera played her hardest from the very first point, and that was exactly what I expected.

After the match a lot of people were condemning Kim for “bad sportsmanship”. But is it really? I remember a couple of years ago at the ATP World Tour Finals when Andy Murray played Federer in the final rubber. Though he was already through, pushed himself and beat Fed in three sets. He would lose in the semifinals and many people blamed that tiring match against Federer for that loss, and so Kim did the right thing. Not to mention the fact that Kim is the queen bee of this tournament. I’m sure she didn’t care about who she has to face in the semis. I know I wouldn’t be, if I were her. It’s the others who should be afraid of her. She’s just that much better than them.

That’s not to say that Sam doesn’t stand a chance in their match. She does, but Kim will undoubtedly go into the match as the clear favourite. For Sam to win, she will have to be decisive, sharp and play to her strengths time and time again. Serve and forehand, serve and forehand. She will need to use all the angles of the court, and then look to finish points off at the net. And when I say finish, I mean finish. She may be a former doubles number one, but her net game just isn’t good enough to withstand the endless resources of Kim Clijsters. So she will need to pick her moments and then commit fully.

As for Kim, she will undoubtedly look to move Stosur around and expose her movement. To the forehand side, she should look to employ acute angles - not only does Stosur move poorly to her forehand side, but on the run her forehand is extremely ineffective on the run. To the backhand side, she will look to use her wide array of shots - giving the backhand different paces, spins and trajectories to deal with, and exposing her poor technique. It should be an interesting match, but as I said before, one that Kim should win.

The second semi-final will be between the top two players in the world. This will be far more of a toss-up, and will of course be decided by Vera rather than Wozniacki. Vera should look to play aggressive, outmanoeuvre Wozniacki and then finish points off at the net. That’s how she has beaten Wozniacki this year. The big question is if she can hold her nerve against the steely consistency of Wozniacki when the shit really hits the fan. If this was a final, I would say “no” without a second’s hesitation, but it isn’t. And so I’m going with Vera.

Lets hope our girls put on a good show.

Posted in Caroline Wozniacki, Kim Clijsters, Sam Stosur, Vera Zvonareva, WTA Championships Doha | 1 Comment

Oops… They Did It Again: Stosur And Dementieva In Doha

In the fourth round of the US Open this year, Elena Dementieva and Sam Stosur faced off against each other under the lights of Arthur Ashe Arena. Though the useless American TV coverage prevented most from viewing it, the match turned out to be the gem among a series of straight setters and letdowns. In that match, Stosur would save four match points before scraping through to the quarterfinals after winning the decisive third set tiebreaker.

Their match today was their first meeting since the US Open. However, most of us expected Stosur to sweep through in convincing fashion. She had, after all, just cruised past te world number one while

Dementieva was visibly struggling with an ankle injury. But it didn’t happen. Elena came onto court looking fully fit and ready to rumble. History would repeat itself, but amazingly it was Elena who managed to snatch the match in the tiebreaker.

Though not as high-quality as their US Open match, the pair produced another blinding display of tennis today, showing exactly why they are considered two of the tour’s best athletes. Stosur picked up from were she left off in the Wozniacki match, serving well and punishing forehands. However, Dementieva returned extremely well - stepping in to take Stosur’s heavy kick serves on the rise, and she readily turned defence into offence, punishing forehands and backhands alike while at full stretch.

And after 6 straight set matches in a row, this match was exactly what the Championships needed.

Posted in Elena Dementieva, Sam Stosur, WTA Championships Doha | 2 Comments

It’s All In The Head: Random Thoughts On Wozniacki and Stosur

So at long last, we have our first upset of the championships. I warned yesterday that Wozniacki could be in trouble today, and I was right. Today Sam Stosur put in one of her best performances since the French Open to defeat top seeded Caroline Wozniacki in straight sets. As with most of Wozniacki’s losses, the match was actually pretty straightforward. In the first set, both players held firm until 5-4* when Stosur was able to snatch the break and the set. She brought that momentum into the second set, broke early, and barring a slight stutter while serving for the match, she never looked back.

I have to say, these courts are looking pretty good for Stosur. Though they will never allow her to be as mercilessly aggressive as she is on clay, they’re slow enough. As usual, her serve worked extremely well. The kicker out wide was a nightmare for Wozniacki, and though Karolina repeatedly changed her position on the return, she remained unable to take the ball early and was having to hit most of her returns from above shoulder height. In other words, it was a nightmare.

That said, I was actually more impressed with Sam off-the-ground than on serve. Her backahand admittedly remained as pitiful as ever, but on the forehand side Stosur’s approach was very interesting. She was aggressive, as always, but she was playing with a massive amount of margin and only took measured risks when the opportunity presented itself. And that’s how it should be against Wozniacki. So many times over the last few months I’ve heard people saying that the only way to beat Wozniacki is to blast through her. Yes, that is certainly one way of dealing with her, but it also happens to be exactly what she wants her opponents to attempt to do as 90% of the time they will end up commiting 40 errors and being off the court in 50 minutes flat. To beat Wozniacki, it’s about being smart, dictating (but not mindlessly attacking), and seizing opportunities when they come. Sam did all of that today and so props to her for not only coming to court with the correct gameplan, but executing it impressively.

And as for Wozniacki?

It’s interesting to look around and see what people write about Wozniacki. Recently I’ve seen so many people discussing Wozniacki and her gamestyle, and while most seem to agree that she is far to defensive/lacks the weaponry to snatch a slam at this very moment, many believe that she will improve rapidly to the point where she can. I disagree. Why? Her technique.

On both groundstrokes her technique is just not good enough to even ever be called an “aggressive counterpuncher”. On the forehand side, She has huge problems with her hit point, she over-extends her followthrough, and her legs, body and racket move completely out of sync. Her backhand side is certainly by far a better stroke, but many of those properties also arise when she tries to be aggressive and leans into her shots. The thing about technique is that it’s not something that can just be taken apart and put back together. If she tried to, she would probably end up with even worse results than before. So she’s stuck with it.

But she is clearly aware of that, and that’s why she compensates for it by playing high percentage and low risk tennis. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with it. But it means that she’ll never be able to march her way to a slam, or take out a top player when playing at the level that Stosur was at today.

Tomorrow she will be up against Francesca Schiavone. The pair have played twice this year - once en route to Fran’s French Open victory and then at Toronto on hardcourts. Francesca is playing far better than she was in Toronto, however. If she can expose all of those technical shortcomings (as she did in Paris) by mixing up the pace, angle and trajectory of her slice and topspin strokes, she stands a good chance. If not? Expect Wozniacki to stand firm and grind Schiavone down to nothing. She almost always does.

Posted in Caroline Wozniacki, Sam Stosur, WTA Championships Doha | 3 Comments

Fran and Sam Save The Day… Again.

As usual, it was left to Francesca Schiavone and Sam Stosur to save the day, and they did. Though the match was finished in straight sets, just like in their French Open final, the pair put on a superb exhibition of their gifts in a really fun and enjoyable match . Sam ended up winning 6-4 6-4, but Francesca also showed that she was in great form. I mean both girls ended with a positive winner-to-error ratio. How often do you see that nowadays? I certainly think that there could be fireworks to come over the next few days. Both players are playing pretty well so Wozniacki (hopefully) won’t have it all her own way.

It was quite funny to see a so many people claiming that Stosur has dished “revenge” on Francesca. But as @FortyDeuceTwits so bluntly put it, I’m pretty sure she would trade this victory in the WTA Championships group stages for a victory in a Grand Slam final in a heartbeat.

Posted in Francesca Schiavone, Sam Stosur, WTA Championships Doha | 1 Comment

The WTA Championships In Doha Are ‘Ere! (Maroon Group Preview)

The player field is weak (only 4 Grand Slams between them, and only one former champion between them!!!), the crowds will most likely be non-existant, and since the move to Doha, the YEC has begun to feel more like an exhibition rather than a final showdown between the 8 best players in the world. But we’re not going to let that bring us down. After all, this is the final tournament in the year. After this week, for WTA fans it will just be that feeling of emptiness that ravages us throughout every off-season. So let’s enjoy it, and let’s savour it.

Caroline Wozniacki arrives at Doha in scintillating form and on a 10 match winning streak. After her humiliating defeat to Vera Zvonareva in New York, the Great Wall of Denmark bounced back by tearing down the field in her last two events, picking up two Premier+ titles in Asia and rising to number one for the first time in her career. However, even with almost 2000 extra points in the bag, she continues to suffer criticism from all sides. After all, Serena, Venus, Justine weren’t even present at any of her Premier+ wins this year, and an injured Kim was only part of one. The number one has been handed a kind draw again this year, and she shares the Maroon Group with newbies Francesca Schiavone and Sam Stosur, plus Elena Dementieva.

One thing interesting thing is seeing how both Francesca Schiavone and Sam Stosur perform in their debut WTA Championships. After their French Open final in June, both struggled to consolidate their form and move forward, immediately slumping to first round defeats at Wimbldon. However, there have been signs of rejuvenation since then. Both are capable of defeating Wozniacki, Dementieva and indeed each other in this group, but they will have to be ready to play their best tennis from the word “go”. Schiavone will look to weave her web of variety, neutralizing her opponents with slice, creating angles and moving into the forecourt. Stosur on the other hand, will need to steal back the discipline and straightforward plan that took her to the finals of the French Open; serving topspin bombs and crushing her forehands. Sounds so easy on paper, doesn’t it?

As for Dementieva, her record at the WTA Championships speaks for itself. That coupled with the fact that she arrives in Doha with a foot injury and in poor form means that it wouldn’t be smart to bet on her this week. Still, this is certainly the perfect draw to play her into form. She recently defeated Schiavone, and her matches against Stosur will always be a toss-up. The big question mark for me is whether she can take down Wozniacki. She has had so much trouble with the Dane over the last couple of years, and while her backhand is nowadays capable of only hitting crosscourt (thus playing to Wozniacki’s strength), the problem isn’t really a stylistic problem. Rather, it’s that pretty little head of hers. If she can put Wozniacki away when they do play each other tomorrow, then it will be clear that she is mentally checked in and ready to make a battle of this final tournament of 2010. If not, then she should be looking for a plane home to Russia ASAP. All shall be revealed shortly.

Posted in Caroline Wozniacki, Elena Dementieva, Francesca Schiavone, Sam Stosur, WTA Championships Doha | 2 Comments

Stanford and Los Angeles Semi-Final picks.

Los Angeles OOP:

Today sees Murray face off against Lopez as Querrey meets Tipsarevic. Murray has to be seen as the favourite in his match but Lopez is always dangerous and has the capacity to cause a lot of problems. However the head to head is 2-0 to Murray and 4-0 in sets so he starts as the firm favourite. Lopez could easily take a set but Murray loves players who give him a target at the net so Murray in 2.

The other semi-final is likely to be much tighter. Querrey defeated Tipsarevic 2-1 four years ago in Indianapolis. Tipsarevic has been playing some great tennis this week but Querrey is in the top 20 for a reason - Querrey in 3.

Stanford OOP:

The first semifinal sees top seed Stosur tee off against Victoria Azarenka. Azarenka leads the H2H 3-0 and 6-0 in sets and her outstanding return of serve should neutralise the serve of Stosur. It will be interesting and most likely much closer than their previous matches but the edge has to go to Azarenka due to the surface and matchup. Azarenka in 3.

The night match will be Sharapova vs Radwanska. Though Radwanska has pushed Sharapova in almost every match they have played (including that famous win at the US Open in 2007), Radwanska’s weight of shot is just not good enough. Radwanska was so aggressive in their US Open 2007 match; hugging the baseline, taking the ball early and redirecting pace so well. The Hingis comparisons were actually passable after that match but since then she has moved further and further behind the baseline as she has become more settled and comfortable in the top 10. It will be fascinating to see what she does attempt to do in the match against Sharapova but ultimately it won’t be enough, much like in her matches with Wozniacki. A bad matchup is a bad matchup and so Sharapova in 2 tight sets.

Posted in Agnieszka Radwanska, Andy Murray, Feliciano Lopez, Janko Tipsarevic, Maria Sharapova, Sam Querrey, Sam Stosur, Victoria Azarenka | Leave a comment

WTA Stanford and ATP Los Angeles: Wednesday roundup

WTA Bank Of The West Classic:


(1) Samantha Stosur (AUS) d. (Q) Christina McHale (USA) 61 75
(2) Elena Dementieva (RUS) d. Kimiko Date Krumm (JPN) 36 63 64
(3) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) d. (Q) Olga Savchuk (UKR) 76(4) 62
(7) Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) d. Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) 61 64

The seeds continued to impress on Wednesday as all four won through to the quarterfinals. The only player really pushed was Elena Dementieva in her first match since retiring from the French Open semi-finals. She was forced to dig in deep and came back from a set and a break down against the incredible Kimiko Date Krumm, who at 39 is still pushing, and beating, the top players of today.

ATP Farmers Classic, Los Angeles:


[2] S Querrey (USA) d K Anderson (RSA) 76(8) 46 60
[3] M Baghdatis (CYP) d [WC] R Sweeting (USA) 36 62 63
[6] J Tipsarevic (SRB) d [Q] S Devvarman (IND) 76(9) 62
R Schuettler (GER) d R Ginepri (USA) 63 36 64

Wednesday was much the same over in Los Angeles as the seeds dug deep to scrape through to the quarter finals. Wildcard Ryan Sweeting gave Baghdatis a run for his money before the Cypriot finally found his form and eased to victory. He has been desperately lacking matchplay so a three-setter like that may actually be beneficial to him as he moves towards the latter rounds of the tournament.

ATP Umag Draw
ATP Gstaad Draw
WTA Istanbul Draw

Posted in Elena Dementieva, Marcos Baghdatis, Sam Stosur | Leave a comment

The US Open Series kicks off

WTA Stanford (Premier):
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This week sees the first stop on the US Open Series for the WTA tour. Headed by Stosur, Dementieva, Radwanska and Bartoli, the top players will be looking to gain an early lead in the race to win the US Open series.

Even with the absence of top four players in the world, the Stanford draw really highlights the progress of womens’ tennis has made over the years in terms of depth as we see a number of mouthwatering matchups from the very first round. These include Sharapova vs Zheng, Kleybanova vs Ivanovic and Safina vs Date-Krumm. All three former number ones lost to their opponents in their most recent meetings so they will be undoubtebly looking for revenge.

WTA Istanbul (International):


A week ago, you could be forgiven for thinking that Istanbul was a Premier event as it was headlined by the two slam champions of 2010. Since then Serena Williams has been forced to withdraw after undergoing foot surgery, but the tournament still retains a reigning slam champion in the form of top seed and French Open Champion Francesca Schiavone. The rest of the draw is headed by Wimbledon semifinalists Kvitova and Pironkova, Pavlyuchenkova, Shvedova, and Schnyder as well as talented young players such as Sevastova and Voegele. Therefore this also promises to be a very interesting tournament.

ATP Studena Croatia Open (250):


Nikolay Davydenko heads the field in Croatia with Melzer, Ljubicic and Ferrero rounding off the top four. This is the last chance for the European claycourters to gain points and prizemoney on their treasured surface before the US Open and many are taking full advantage of it. It is quite a surprise to see Davydenko here however, considering his success on hardcourts, but he remains the firm favourite to take the title regardless of the surface.

Posted in Nikolay Davydenko, Sam Stosur | Leave a comment