Image by martin jančovič via Flickr
“And the mighty oak came crashing down, not with a single wield of the ax, but with multiple incisions made by a crafty little customer.” If Stosur was the mighty oak, Schiavone was the craftswoman who used all the skill and guile at her disposal to bring the more powerful Samantha to her knees; she was surgical in her demolition job making Stosur seem pedestrian for the most part of the match.
Francesca came out all guns blazing in the first set with Stosur looking lethargic and out of sorts. Before you knew it the first set was in the bag for Schiavone. Sammy then decided to play more freely and the match seemed to be going into the 3rd set with Stosur leading 4-2. But it was not to be! Schiavone broke back just as it seemed that Stosur took her foot off the pedal momentarily only to realize belatedly that her pesky, smaller opponent was going nowhere but had her mind set on the victory podium. Schiavone was definitely more pumped up and did not seem overwhelmed by the solemnity of the occasion unlike her more favored opponent. Their match-up before the finals read 4-1 in Stosur’s favor with the last 4 results all going Stosur’s way. But this was a rejuvenated Schiavone and more importantly injury-free and seemingly free of any mental shackles.
Stosur seemed to have her left her A-game in the locker room and was error-prone both at the net and with her much vaunted forehand. Schiavone, on the other hand, dominated the net and seemed to know the exact right moment when to move forward and execute the decisive cut of her scalpel-like game.
All said, the French Open has a new champion, an unlikely, perhaps ungainly and gawky one but on the day, there was nothing ungainly about her play.
Congratulations, Francesca and Stosur, better luck next time!
Have a great weekend!
PS: Leander Paes and Lukas Dlouhy crashed out of the French Open’s men’s doubles final. It would have been Paes’ 12th major had he won but it was not to be. Nestor and Zimonjic were well-deserved victors.