When people were discussing possible favorites for the 2010 French Open, many players where mentioned, but Francesca Schiavone wasn’t really on top of anyone’s list. The world No.17 Schiavone won the battle of the first time Grand Slam finalists against Australia’s Samantha Stosur 6-4 7-6(2) and became the first Italian women’s tennis player to win a Grand Slam title.
The seventh-seeded Stosur, who reached the final with high-profile victories over four-time Roland Garros champion Justine Henin, 12-time Grand Slam champion and world No.1 Serena Williams, and one of this year’s top favorites Jelena Jankovic, started the match strong by winning her service game to love. Actually, until 4-4 players were good on their serves and there were no break points. However, in the ninth game Stosur’s errors gave Schiavone triple break point. Stosur saved two of those, but double faulted on the third one to hand Schiavone the game and soon after the set. In the second set, the 29-year-old Schiavone rallied from 4-1 down and took the clinching tiebreaker on her first match point to become the oldest woman to win her maiden Grand Slam title since Ann Jones at Wimbledon in 1969 at age 30.
Schiavone’s road to title: Regina Kulikova, Sophie Ferguson, Li Na (11), Maria Kirilenko (30), Caroline Wozniacki (3), Elena Dementieva (5) [retired], and finally Samantha Stosur.
Interestingly, Schiavone and Stosur met at last year’s French Open, but at the completely opposite stage of the tournament, in the first round already. That encounter was won by Stosur, 6-4 6-2, who went on to reach the semis where she fell to the eventual champion Svetlana Kuznetsova. (photos: Stephane Martinache )