By Melinda Samson, Special for Tennis Grandstand
Prior to Sunday’s fourth round match at Roland Garros, Sam Stosur had never played against 19-year-old, 70th ranked Sloane Stephens from America. Like Stosur, Stephens had not lost a set during her first three matches. But unlike Stosur, this was the first time Stephens had made it through to the second week of a grand slam.
Originally scheduled to be the final match played on Court Philippe Chatrier, the match was moved to Court 1 due to long running men’s matches, meaning a much smaller crowd and less intense atmosphere.
The first set started steadily with Stephens taking the first break during Stosur’s fourth service game at 4-3. She held the break until Stosur, broke back to level the score at 5-5. Stosur then held serve and went on to break Stephens again, aided by Stephens’ double fault on set point, to win the set 7-5.
Stosur came out firing at the start of the second set, quickly getting a double break to lead 5-1. But then nerves seemed to creep in as Stosur twice failed to serve out the match and Stephens was able to win the next three games. With the score line at 5-4, Stosur broke Stephens’ serve to close out the set at 6-4, winning the match in 1h 23m.
After the match Stosur commented on Stephens’ pressure during her post-match press conference:
“She came out playing very aggressive and kind of got me off guard. I went down that break and got a little bit mad with myself and then recomposed and yeah, really tough to come back from 5-3.”
Stosur’s win puts her through to the Roland Garros quarter finals for the third time in the last four years. She will play 15th seed Dominika Cibulka of Slovakia, who upset world world number one and Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka in straight sets earlier in the day.
Keep an eye out for talented Stephens in the future, especially at the French Open as clay is her favourite surface.
Follow Tennis Grandstand for updates on all the Australian players’ progress throughout the main draw of the French Open.
Melinda Samson is attending Roland Garros and will be writing updates on Australian players through their trek of the tennis world’s second slam. She also manages the website Grand Slam Gal and is attempting to do the fan version of a tennis grand slam in 2012. Follow her on Twitter for further live updates @GrandSlamGal.