Venus Williams takes on Alizé Cornet in the third round of Roland Garros.
PARIS, France – Samantha Stosur dodged the rain and rolled back the years to dash Simona Halep’s French Open hopes on Tuesday.
Resuming at 5-3 down in the first set, Stosur powered through the heavy conditions and Halep’s defenses to triumph, 7-6(0), 6-3.
Halep was very much in ascendency when the match was originally stopped on Sunday evening. However, on their return 2010 runner-up Stosur was a different proposition entirely, winning the first seven points. A netted backhand ended the streak but did not halt the momentum, an inside-out forehand winner drawing her level at 5-5.
This vintage form continued into the tie-break, Stosur steamrolling Halep to complete the turnaround. The only thing that threatened the Australian’s dominance was the rain, which duly arrived at 3-2 in the second set.
This merely delayed the celebrations, though, Stosur returning to complete the job when Halep sent a drive volley sailing long.
Stosur arrived in Paris carrying a wrist injury, which forced her to withdraw from her final tune-up event.
“I didn’t know what kind of result or performance I was going to have regardless of the wrist injury, but I said after my first round I did exactly what I needed to do for that and sort it out and came here early.
“It was unfortunate I had to pull out of Strasbourg, but I needed those days to recover. Thankfully, touch wood, it’s been okay so far. I’m not struggling with it at all. I’m not even thinking about it now. I still have it taped, but it’s not bothering me and I’m able to play some of my best tennis.”
The stage is set in Strasbourg as the French headline their first Fed Cup final since 2005, when Amélie Mauresmo narrowly missed out on a hat trick of titles to team Russia. Mauresmo is back at the helm over a decade later, captaining a next generation squad that includes Roland Garros doubles winners Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic.
“I’m lucky it brings out their best tennis,” the 2016 International Tennis Hall of Fame Inductee told WTA Insider in July. “They feel so good playing on the team, and are able to express their best during this competition, I’m very fortunate with that. It’s not only Caroline and Kiki, but also Alizé Cornet and Pauline Parmentier; I hope they can all rise to the occasion in November.”
That occasion puts them head-to-head against defending champions in the Czech Republic, who have taken home the trophy in four of the last five years and took out the French in last April’s semifinal.
“We have a very difficult team ahead of us. There’s nothing to lose, being the underdogs. We’ll give it a good fight.”
Garcia will be ready for a good fight against the likes of Karolina Pliskova and Petra Kvitova. The French No.1 won in Strasbourg earlier in the season, taking home the first of two titles in 2016.
“I’m really looking forward to it, but I’d rather be facing a team other than the Czechs!” she joked at the Huajin Securities WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai. “They have so many great players, that they could even make two teams from all the players they have in the Top 50.
“But we’ve done well this year; not long ago, we were almost out of World Group, and we were fighting just to stay in World Group II. Everything’s come very fast for us. We are a very young team, and have nothing to lose; we will be in France, and we will give everything we have like we always do.”
Mladenovic echoed her partner’s sentiments after winning the Mutua Madrid Open doubles crown.
“We are all aware how tough it is to give all of yourself in Fed Cup every single year. Personally, I give a lot. You try to do your best, find a balance, and just be positive, work hard and keep going.”
She and Garcia duo rode a 15-match winning streak through the start of the clay court season, ultimately becoming the first all-French duo to triumph on the terre battue since 1971. Mauresmo took over coaching duties back in 2012, and admitted a need to adapt her strategies to a new set of national stars.
“It’s another learning experience for me, how to adjust to people, how to adjust to different personalities, different structures as well. They don’t operate the same way I did at all. You have to find different words, and it’s a challenge each time. But I love it. I love to adjust, listen to people, and decide from there what is the best course of action.”
Born in the same city as the two-time Grand Slam champion, Garcia earned the Fed Cup Heart Award following a heroic effort in the semifinals, where she and Mladenovic won a decisive doubles rubber to advance into the championship tie.
“I think it’s been a great opportunity to work with her. She really likes this competition. She gives a lot of herself, a lot of energy on the court. She’s had a lot of experience from her career in Fed Cup. She was No.1, won Grand Slams.
“She knows how tennis works, obviously. She trusts us and us on the court, that we can give everything. She wants us to win this Fed Cup; it was one of our goals, and now we’re so close!”
All photos courtesy of Getty Images.
Bol, Croatia is known for its spectacular coastline, and now it’s home to the inaugural WTA Bol Open, a clay court WTA 125K series event.
The player party took place on a yacht and Ana Rucner, a world-class singer and cellist who competed in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, provided the night’s entertainment.
Arantxa Sanchez Vicario was on deck and she grabbed a photo with Felisk Lukas, the WTA Bol Open tournament director.
French qualifier Marine Partaud took in the action from a distance.
It was definitely a night to remember on the “Katina” yacht, courtesy of Tomislav Debeljak.
Before the player party, though, it was time to make the draw and the top seeds, Anna Karolina Schmiedlova and Ana Konjuh, were on hand for the ceremony.
Thankfully Schmiedlova and Konjuh drew themselves into opposite halves!
Konjuh in particular was thrilled to compete in a WTA event in her home country of Croatia.
Right before the start of play, a pair of WTA legends took to the picturesque courts to compete in an exhibition match.
14-time Grand Slam winner Sanchez Vicario – known as the “Barcelona Bumblebee” – is also a WTA Finals ambassador.
Iva Majoli and Sanchez Vicario got plenty of tennis action this week: the pair are also competing in Legends Doubles at the French Open.
It’s time to crown the 2016 WTA Shot Of The Year!
Each WTA Shot Of The Month winner has been placed into one of two groups:
• Voting for Group A and Group B will close Sunday, November 20 at 11:59pm ET
• The two shots from each group that receive the most votes will then be placed into a final group
• Final Group voting opens Monday, November 21 and ends Monday, November 28 at 11:59pm ET
• The 2016 WTA Shot of the Year winner will be announced Tuesday, November 29
June: Agnieszka Radwanska
July: Simona Halep
August: Agnieszka Radwanska
September: Kirsten Flipkens
October: Angelique Kerber