Samantha Stosur: Intrepid

Samantha Stosur on Arthur Ashe Stadium
After the mediocre quality of Murray Wawrinka for three odd hours, one needs a lift - and it was probably followed by one of the best matches of the year so far in the women's tour.

It had the ingredients of a classic, and quite undoubtedly a classic it was. Crystal clean ball striking, psychological fortitude, fluctuating fortunes, two different but equally effective sets of strengths and two women who wanted to do nothing more than win a tennis match. It had that quality which I can sense in a tennis match - a veneer of visceral craving to win.

I've always liked Elena Dementieva - other than the fact that she is probably the best player never to have clocked a slam yet, I love watching her play. She is one of the (very) few on the women's tour who does not use only her arm strength to generate power and pop on her groundies. Its the ensemble of the entire mechanics that generates such power. From a physical mechanics standpoint: her groundies are a treat to watch. Federer and Nole would be proud of those groundies.

With four matchpoints for the taking, Dementieva could not quite seal the deal, she left the door unshut - and Stosur came through .... with a greeting in a heavy accent of "Sorry Maaaate". She is a gold coast girl, a vintage Queenslander - my lab mate's a Queenslander and he is always interested in how Sam's doing. I am his update radio each morning (let's call him EC). Stosur is old fashioned, her meat and potatoes are the vintage serve and forehand combination, and her kick serve would do Edberg and Rafter proud (he also is a Queenslander apparently).

This was a match which was won by sheer nerves and ice flowing through your veins, more than forehands and backhands. Sam kept it simple: she knew her strengths and she stuck to them. She quite simply refused to go away each time she was match point down. As the quality of the match reached its culmination point in the latter stages of the third set: the high octane visceral rallies off the ground were a treat to watch. You could hear the sounds of silence in Ashe - could hear a pin drop between points, the crowd were on their feet.

Dementieva served for it at 3-6 6-2 5-3 ... she blinked.

Stosur played what you call as 'intrepid' tennis, she knew what she had to do, and she went about doing it ruthlessly. Time and again that forehand was let rip with lethal reckless abandon, and she never looked like she was going to miss. I think thats why I like her despite her conventional 1-2 punch game, her attitude of being 'Intrepid' and ruthless. As the match found itself at the cusp of the third set breaker (at least no Mahut Isner tale yeah?), Sam continued on and Dementieva's forehand went AWOL. Four errors off that wing, and one more, leading to a well deserved victory for Stosur.

With a second Sunday run on the Parisian clay, the current World No. 6  has definitely shown she has the courage and intrepid essence to take on players such as Henin and S.Williams, and come out winning. That separates her from most of her peers, she has the game and the nerve to hold her own on the biggest of stages. That's a unique quality: W's, Henin, MA-SHA and Clijsters have that, not many more. 

Clijsters awaits next ... but who's to say EC will not happy again in two days?

--- Keep Rockin, Long John Silver


  1. One thing about Stosur's game is that her serve and forehands let her down on grass in Wimby!

  2. simran - her game isnt really constructed for the low center of gravity that grass requires

    she is more luck and load ... suits hards very well - she can adapt (hewitt), but it takes time