MADRID, Spain – Samantha Stosur became the last woman into the semifinals of the Mutua Madrid Open on Wednesday night, ending a spirited challenge from qualifier Patricia Maria Tig, taking out the Romanian, 6-3, 6-4.
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“I feel like I picked up well from last night,” Stosur said after the match, referring to her big three-set win over Carla Suárez Navarro on Wednesday.
“Obviously it was a different opponent, but I was able to combat that with my tennis.”
At 21 years of age, Tig earned a trio of impressive main draw wins to reach the last eight, defeating Daria Kasatkina, No.16 seed Sloane Stephens, and Madison Keys to set up the meeting with the 2011 US Open champion.
“I’m actually quite impressed with her game; she’s got a really good first serve and really goes after the ball. She moves well, slides, and hits the ball with a lot of pace – even when she’s behind the baseline. So she can be very tricky; all around, she has a really tidy game and aggressive style, so I think she’ll do quite well.”
Though the Romanian would finish the match with a positive winners to unforced error differential, the Aussie’s experience shone throught when it mattered, hitting 22 winners of her own and saving all six break points faced in the match – including three in a row at 0-40 in the final game.
“I don’t think I played really terribly for those three points to get myself in that deficit; nevertheless, it’s not the ideal start to trying to serve out a match. But I made a lot of first serves in that last game, and ended up getting through it.”
Into to the semifinals of Madrid for the first time in her career, Stosur booked an encounter with No.6 seed and 2014 finalist Simona Halep, who is the highest ranked player in the draw. Stosur and Halep have an even head-to-head, but the top ranked Romanian has won their last three matches – all three coming in 2013.
“We haven’t played for a long time, but when we did, we went through a span of playing each other a lot and had some really close three-setters. I’ve got to expect a tough one; she’s going to make me play and make me work. I don’t think there’ll be too many easy points out there, so when I’m able to win the point, I’ll have to win it. It’ll have to be a balance of being aggressive and being patient. Winning, but not losing on my own racquet!”
One of the most consistent clay courters of the last six years, Stosur’s singles breakout first came at the French Open in 2009, when she reached the semifinals; the veteran backed up that run the very next year by reaching the final, going through a murderer’s row of Justine Henin, Serena Williams, and Jelena Jankovic along the way.
“If I can bring my best tennis, or close to my best tennis, I do feel like I’ve got a good shot against anyone. Over the course of my career, I’ve proved that, and that’s a really good thing to know. But you’ve got to be at your best level consistently to be at the top of the game. That’s where I was a few years ago; obviously I’ve dropped back a little bit now, so I’m really working towards trying to get back there now.
“These first couple of weeks on the red clay have been really good, and I’m happy with where things are going, so I’m hoping there’s still a little bit of room for improvement.”