Somebody forgot to tell Samantha Stosur that Serena Williams was unbeatable, that Samantha couldn’t win. The Australian star came out and took it to Serena from the start. Stosur used her big serve and forehand to send a message that she was in the final to win, not to just show up. In the end, it was Samantha holding the US Open trophy over her head after a decisive 6-2 6-3 victory. As a 13-year old, Stosur was late for school because she was watching Aussie Patrick Rafter win the 1997 US Open (it was Monday morning in Australia). Now she stands with him as a US Open Champion.
Many of Serena’s recent opponents have lost the match before they even broke a sweat, falling behind quickly as Williams punished their serves and went untouched on her own serves. Not against Samantha. After an exchange of holds, Samantha broke Serena in the third game to go up 2-1. It’s not a surprise that Stosur picked her chances to come to net successfully. After all, she was once the top ranked doubles player in the world and is more than comfortable at net. But she also went toe to toe with Serena off the ground, often stepping around her backhand to crush big forehands. Serena looked lethargic. She was also error-prone, serving 35% and committing 11 errors. Don’t let that fool you into thinking Samantha was just being given points. Stosur was dictating play and making Serena go for big shots. In the seventh game, Samantha broke Serena at love for a 5-2 lead, ultimately closing out the set on serve, also at love.
Ok, good first set for Samantha. Good on ya’. Surely Serena would awaken in the second set and remind Samantha who the player with 13 singles Majors is. Serena woke up, for sure. But not the way one would imagine. In the first game of the second set, with Serena down a break point at 30-40, she hit a winner. However, before Samantha touched the ball and the point was over, Serena yelled, “Come on!” According to the rules, that is a verbal hindrance, which cost the player a point. Since it was already break point, Samantha won the game. Serena was livid, to say the least. It’s a really tough call, especially considering all the noise players like Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka make during play. However, technically speaking, it is the correct call. Marion Bartoli also lost a point earlier in the tournament on the same penalty. I certainly understand Serena’s anger with the call, but was disappointed in her nasty comments to the chair umpire during the change over.
“A code violation because I expressed who I am? We’re in America last I checked. Am I gonna get violated for a water? Really, dont’ even look at me. I promise you, don’t look at me because I am not the one. Don’t look my way. If you ever see me walking down the hall, walk the other way. Because you’re out of control. Totally out of control. You’re a hater, you’re unattractive inside. Who would do such a thing. And I never complain. Wow.” – Serena during change over
“Aren’t you the one who screwed me over last time here? Yeah, you are. That’s not cool.” – Serena during play
First of all, it was not the same chair umpire as the Kim Clijsters match. Secondly, it was technically the correct call. Furthermore, like the Clijsters match, where Serena was two points away from losing outright, the better player on this day won the match. Even Serena admitted so afterwards. Samantha outplayed her and deserve the victory.
However, it looked like Serena might just use anger, and the vocal support of the crowd, to her advantage as for a few games she lifted her play, breaking Samantha to even the set at 1-1 and then holding serve for 2-1. The momentum shift was palpably evident. Serena pounced on Stosur in Samantha’s next service game going up double break point 15-40. Stosur was on the ropes. This was the moment of truth for her. Was she going to crumble under Serena’s charge or was she going to fight back? She answered with her first ace of the match at 111 mph and great defense on the next point to erase both break chances. She answered the bell with vigor, holding serve. In the 7th game of the second set, Samantha had Serena on the ropes at break point down 30-40. After a backhand by Serena went long, Samantha was up 4-3 and serving. Not only did Stosur hold serve, but also broke Serena again to close out the match and secure her first Major title. For a player who didn’t have a chance to beat Serena, Samantha did pretty darn well.