NEW YORK (Reuters) - Australia’s long wait for a female grand slam champion could soon be over after Sam Stosur’s wild ride through the U.S. Open took her to the semi-finals.
On Thursday, she demolished the world number two and last year’s runner-up Vera Zvonareva 6-3 6-3 in 67 minutes with one of the most impressive performances of the tournament.
She never once faced break point on her serve and thumped 25 winners past her hapless opponent who may have been ranked eight places higher, but had lost each of her last seven matches against the Queenslander.
“When you really feel comfortable, obviously things start to flow a little bit more than usual,” Stosur said.
While most of the attention in the women’s draw has been centered around Serena Williams and world number one Caroline Wozniacki, who meet in Saturday’s other semi-final, Stosur has been on a wild rollercoaster ride in the bottom half of the draw.
She was involved in the longest women’s match ever played at the U.S. Open when she beat Russia’s Nadia Petrova in the third round, lasting more than three and a quarter hours.
Then, in her fourth round clash with another Russian, Maria Kirilenko, she played the longest tiebreaker in a women’s match at any grand slam. She lost the 32-point tiebreaker but won the match.
Stosur had two days off to recharge her batteries before playing Zvonareva, yet another Russian, but this was a quick kill that showed why is suddenly looming as a serious contender for the title.
“It’s always nicer to finish them off in less than three hours,” she said.
It has been lean times in recent years for Australian women at the grand slams. The last woman to win the U.S. Open was Margaret Court in 1973. The last to win any grand slam was Evonne Goolagong-Cawley at Wimbledon in 1980.
Stosur almost broke the drought last year when she reached the final of the French Open but has another chance after becoming the first Australian woman to reach the U.S. Open semis since Wendy Turnbull in 1984.
“That’s the year I was born, so that’s good. It might be a good omen,” Stosur said.
“Now I’ve really started to play well and feeling very good and obviously it’s very exciting. Hopefully I can keep it going for a couple more days.”
Stosur’s semi-final opponent is unseeded German Angelique Kerber, who beat Italian Flavia Pennetta 6-4 4-6 6-3. The pair have never played before but Stosur, seeded ninth, will start as the overwhelming favorite.
“When I came here, my goal was to get into the second or third round. Now I’m in the semi-final and it’s an unbelievable feeling,” Kerber said.
“I will just enjoy the match. I will play my tennis and I will try to fight.”
Editing by Larry Fine