World No. 6 Sam Stosur reaches French Open semifinals for third time in four years
Australia's U.S. Open champion will play Italian 21st seed Sara Errani in Paris
Stosur, the 2010 runner-up, beats Slovakian 15th seed Dominika Cibulkova
Errani, who has won three clay titles this year, defeats German 10th seed Angelique Kerber
There will be a new women’s champion crowned at the French Open this weekend, but at least one of the semifinalists has prior experience of playing in the title match at Roland Garros.
Sam Stosur missed out on her first grand slam title in 2010, losing to Francesca Schiavone in the final, and also reached the last four the previous year.
If the Australian can continue that progression in Paris, she will have a second major championship to add to her 2011 U.S. Open triumph.
Standing in her way is Schiavone’s compatriot Sara Errani, who is seeking to give Italy a place in the final for the third successive year.
The 21st seed has never beaten world No. 6 Stosur in their five meetings so far, winning just one set, but the 25-year-old has claimed three clay titles this year.
She reached the quarterfinals of the Australian Open in January, when Stosur crumbled under the weight of home expectation after her New York success and fell at the first hurdle.
Stosur sealed her semifinal place on Tuesday with a 6-4 6-1 demolition of Slovakian 15th seed Dominika Cibulkova, who knocked out world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka in the fourth round.
Errani followed up her victories over former French Open champions Ana Ivanovic and Svetlana Kuznetsova by ending the hopes of German 10th seed Angelique Kerber, winning 6-3 7-6 (7-2).
“I don’t have the power of the big girls so I have to use speed, resistance and use my head because it can be difficult for me some times when an opponent is stronger,” Errani said after beating a top-10 player for the first time in 29 attempts.
“I worked hard all winter, but I also changed my racket which made me feel better on the court.”
Stosur, one of the most powerful players on the tour, was delighted after beating the smallest in Cibulkova, who stands just five foot three inches.
“It’s never easy to come out here, with it windy and playing an opponent who was going for it. She runs very fast and has quick legs,” said the 28-year-old, hoping to become the first Australian woman to win the tournament since Margaret Court in 1973.
“The last few years have been good for me in Paris. It doesn’t get any better than this.”
The other two quarterfinals will be played on Wednesday, when Maria Sharapova faces Kaia Kanepi of Estonia and Czech fourth seed Petra Kvitova takes on Kazakh qualifier Yaroslava Shvedova.
World No. 2 Sharapova is seeking to complete her collection of grand slam titles, and the Russian will move above Azarenka in the rankings if she reaches the final.