Samantha Stosur joined Australian women’s tennis champions such as Margaret Court and Evonne Goolagong Cawley by reaching the U.S. Open final.
Stosur, 27, seeded ninth, advanced to tonight’s championship match against Serena Williams of the U.S. by winning 6-3, 2-6, 6-2 yesterday in the semifinals against unseeded German Angelique Kerber.
Stosur, a native of Brisbane in Queensland State, will be the first Australian woman to play in the final in New York since Wendy Turnbull in 1977, a year before the U.S. Open moved to the National Tennis Center.
“To now be in that same round as those guys who were able to win and make Grand Slam finals, I can’t even describe it,” Stosur said in a news conference. “To have my name up against those women is quite amazing.”
Goolagong, a seven-time Grand Slam singles champion, lost in the U.S. Open final every year from 1973-1976. The last Australian woman to win a U.S. Open title was Court in 1973, who claimed the last of her record 24 women’s major singles titles when the tournament was held on grass at the West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills, New York.
At least one Australian woman was in the U.S. Open final in eight of the nine years from 1969 to 1977 -- Court in 1969 and 1970, Kerry Reid in 1972, Court and Goolagong in 1973, Goolagong in 1974-1976 and Turnbull in 1977.
Stosur will be playing in her second Grand Slam final, having finished as runner-up to Francesca Schiavone of Italy at the 2010 French Open. She knew during the final at Roland Garros that she was trying to end a long streak without an Australian women’s title in a major tournament.
Goolagong is the last Australian woman to capture a Grand Slam title, in 1980 at Wimbledon.
“Obviously, I went through those records when the French Open happened,” Stosur said. “Now it’s kind of that same thing all over again. So it would be fantastic if I could do that and break that drought and set a new record, I guess.”
Stosur, who reached the WTA tour’s No. 1 ranking in doubles in February 2006, was sidelined for 10 months after getting Lyme disease in July 2007 and didn’t return to the women’s circuit until June 2008.
Williams, a 13-time Grand Slam champion, has a 4-2 career record against Stosur, including a 6-4, 6-2 win in mid-August in Toronto. They’ve split two meetings at Grand Slams, with Williams winning in the fourth round at the 2010 Australian Open and Stosur winning 6-2, 6-7 (2-7), 8-6 in the 2010 French Open quarterfinals.
“The one good thing is that one of the matches I beat Serena was actually in a Grand Slam,” Stosur said. “So I think that’s obviously a big confidence booster to know that I have been able to do it in a major tournament.”
Stosur is “underrated as a fighter because she always comes back when she’s down,” Williams said at a news conference yesterday. “She’s playing great. She’s such a great player and a great athlete and a nice girl.”
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at email@example.com