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Surefire Stosur targets final spot


 

Originally published on: 09/09/11 12:01

Sam Stosur continued her hold over Vera Zvonareva on Thursday, marching through to the semi-finals of the US Open with a likely second Grand Slam final appearance now at her mercy.

The 27-year-old Australian made the French Open final in 2010, but had never so much as surpassed the fourth round of another Grand Slam until this year’s US Open. In fact, she had a terrible record in New York, failing to go beyond the second round in six previous attempts.

But this year’s event has seen an overwhelming shift in her fortunes. She knocked over Sofia Arvidsson and Coco Vandeweghe in her opening two rounds, before squeaking past Nadia Petrova and Maria Kirilenko; the latter clash saw her lose the longest women’s tie-break in Grand Slam history in the second set, but she hit back to take the match.

After the drama of her two previous clashes, Stosur’s quarter-final with 2010 finalist Zvonareva was incredibly straightforward, but barely surprising given that she has won her last seven matches against the world No.2. So why does she have the upper hand on the occasionally fragile Russian?

“I don’t know. It’s part of tennis,” shrugged Stosur. “Obviously I’ve got a great record against Vera and then not so good records against other players. I think it’s just the way your game can match up against certain people.

“Obviously having this record makes me feel pretty confident going into each match. I’m pretty clear with what I want to do each time, [but] to come today to a quarter-final in the slam and produce tennis the way I did is obviously very pleasing once again against Vera.”

Surprise quarter-finalist Angelique Kerber is next on the cards, and Stosur admits she will have to do her homework on the 23-year-old German if she is to earn a place in the title-decider in New York.

“I don’t actually know much about Kerber except that she’s a lefty. That’s about it,” said the Queensland native. “We’ve never played and never practiced together or anything like that. It’s the semis of a slam, and we all want to get through to that final. I’m going to have to play well. It’s definitely going to be a good challenge.”

After an on and off season, Stosur has picked up her game in recent weeks. She launched a run to the final in Toronto, where she was felled by Serena Williams, and managed a quarter-final showing in Cincinnati before Maria Sharapova blunted her charge. Only now is Stosur starting beginning to play in line with her high expectations, as she did at the French Open in 2010, as she sets her sights on claiming one of the four biggest prizes in tennis.

“I think this year up until the last month I haven’t been as good as I wanted to be,” she said. “Leading into this event I was able to get some good results and start feeling good again. To carry it through now into the main event is definitely a nice feeling.

“I think I’m playing well, but you always hope there is still that little bit extra there.
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