Stosur stuns Henin and sets up Serena showdown
Samantha Stosur of Australia stunned four-times former winner Justine Henin at the French Open today to wreck hopes of a dream quarter-final between the Belgian and top seed Serena Williams.sports Updated: May 31, 2010 23:22 IST
Samantha Stosur of Australia stunned four-times former winner Justine Henin at the French Open on Monday to wreck hopes of a dream quarter-final between the Belgian and top seed Serena Williams.
It was the first time that Henin had lost since the second round in 2004, a 24-match unbeaten run that was the third best on record and it put a spoke in the comeback trail she has been blazing since the start of the year.
It was also the second straight year that the fast-rising Gold Coast resident Stosur has reached the last eight in Paris, having lost in last year's semis to eventual winner Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia.
In sharp contrast to the Henin-Stosur thriller, which the Australian won 2-6, 6-1, 6-4, Williams breezed past Shahar Peer of Israel 6-2, 6-2.
The American insisted she was not shocked by Henin's dismissal.
"She is no pushover," she said of Stosur. "She has beaten me before and I shall have to play my best game," she said.
"You can never underestimate anyone and Sam is a wonderful claycourt player."
"She has a good chance to go all the way. She is fast, she is strong and she has a great serve. She plays a real allround game."
Henin had won 24 straight matches at Roland Garros, including three titles, since going down to Italy's Tathiana Garbin in the 2004 second round when she was the defending champion.
She missed the 2008 and 2009 tournaments after retiring in May 2008 claiming that she had lost all motivation and wanted a change of lifestyle, but returned to action at the start of the year in Australia.
Henin quickly jumped out into a 2-0 lead and a second break of serve in the seventh game allowed her to pocket the opener 6-2 in just 32 minutes.
But just when it looked like the Belgian was heading for a straightforward win Stosur, who is ranked a career-best seventh in the world, upped her game.
She turned on the power with her serve to edge ahead and then stunned Henin with an array of attacking shots that left the Belgian shaking her head in frustration.
A further break of serve put Stosur 5-1 up and she staved off two break points on her own engagement to take the set 6-1.
At this stage the match was resembling the only previous encounter between the two - the final of the Stuttgart claycourt tournament earlier this month - which Henin won 6-4,2-6, 6-1.
First Published: May 31, 2010 23:19 IST