Samantha Stosur's Time To Shine: Can She Do It?

Michael CasentiCorrespondent IMay 23, 2010

I decided to write about World No. 7 Samantha Stosur, since no one has mentioned anything about her in their articles.  I know, I know.  You're saying she's a good player, but can't stand the likes of Henin, Serena, and even Venus and Jankovic. However, I disagree.

Stosur has been playing well this year, especially on the clay.  She won the Family Circle Cup, reached the final of Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, and the quarterfinals of the Mutua Madrilena Madrid Open.  She has been a force on clay ever since her breakthrough performance here in Paris last year, reaching the semifinals, only to be ousted by eventual champion Kuznetsova in three sets.

And even though Queen of Clay Justine Henin and World No. 1 Serena Williams loom as possible fourth round and quarterfinal opponents, Stosur has the game to beat them. Stosur was defeated by Henin in the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix final in three sets. 

I think if they happen to meet each other, which is extremely likely, Stosur will know what to do with Henin.  Stosur had never played Henin before they matched up for the Grand Prix Title, let alone on clay, and yet, Stosur forced three sets.  

Hoping that Stosur defeats Henin (I don't have any heart for that "cheater" *sigh*), Sam will likely face No. 1 seed Serena.  It would be quite an upset if Stosur manages to oust Serena, but like I said before, I believe that Stosur has the game to do it. Even though Stosur has a losing record against Serena, she has beaten Serena before, although they have never met on clay. 

Assuming that Stosur steps up her game against Henin and Serena, Stosur would make it to the semis, the same stage that she reached last year.  If Sam Stosur makes it to the semis, I think it would be likely for Stosur to win the title. 

And though you might say she is "inexperienced" because she has only won two Tour titles, it would make it three, including one Grand Slam title!

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Perchance Stosur loses to Henin or Serena; that player might be the eventual winner. I really hope Stosur beats Henin, because Stosur has an odd record this year of losing to the eventual champion! (Serena, Australian Open, Jankovic (Indian Wells), Clijsters (Miami), Henin (Porsche Tennis Grand Prix).  

It is quite unfortunate that Stosur was given, as the Sydney Morning Herald puts it, a "Horror French Open Draw."  But if Stosur gets through Justine Henin and Serena Williams, she will have lots of confidence riding into the other matches, and make her one of the elite players on clay today.  

I think Stosur's best chance to beat those top two dogs, or cats (since they are women), is to use her kick serve, and top spin.  Stosur should attack Serena's forehand with lots of spin on her strokes, since Serena is not that good with handling heavy strokes from opponents. 

Against Serena, Stosur should run Serena around with sharp angles and occasionally flatten out her strokes, to make them faster (I know I just said with spin, and now I'm saying flat, but, oh well). 

Against Henin, Stosur should force Henin into errors buy just hitting with lots and lots of spin, especially against her backhand, a la Nadal against Federer.  This tactic seems to always work against players with a one handed backhand.

All in all, I hope Stosur proves herself on clay at this year's French Open, by being the top two favorites, Justine Henin and Serena Williams, and hold the winner's trophy. With that, it's up to you to decide if she will win her maiden grand slam title, and roll through the draw like she did in Charleston.