Errani into first French Open semi-final
Date published :
05 Jun 2012 - 16:17:09
Sara Errani continued Italy's French Open love affair by reaching her first Grand Slam semi-final at Roland Garros on Tuesday with a 6-3, 7-6 (7/2) victory over Germany's Angelique Kerber.
Errani, the 21st seed, made sure of Italian representation in the semi-finals for the third year in succession, following the trail blazed by compatriot Francesca Schiavone, the 2010 champion and runner-up last year.
The 21st seed's reward is a match-up against Australian sixth seed Samantha Stosur, defeated by Schiavone in the 2010 final, for a place in Saturday's title match.
Errani, a slight figure on tour at just 1.64m, had never got beyond the third round of a major before this year's Australian Open when she reached the quarter-finals.
But the 25-year-old from Bologna illustrated her dangerwoman status by winning three claycourt titles in Acapulco, Barcelona and Budapest in the run-up to Paris, putting together a 16-match winning streak in the process.
That confidence was translated into her Roland Garros semi-final run which saw her defeat 2008 champion Ana Ivanovic and 2009 winner Svetlana Kuznetsova.
"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," said Errani.
The Italian said her dramatic change in her professional fortune this year was down to sheer hard work and an equipment rethink.
"I worked hard all winter, but I also changed my racquet which made me feel better on the court."
Errani admitted that she will face a tough semi-final against Stosur, having lost all of their five matches, taking just one set off the muscular Australian.
In their most recent meeting on clay in Rome last month, Errani was defeated in straight sets.
"It was a tough match in Rome. She's very strong and a great player. But I will fight and see what happens," she said.
She was on top of her game straight away on Tuesday with a break in the first game, backed up by another in the ninth as the opening set was comfortably secured.
Errani and 10th seed Kerber, who reached a maiden Grand Slam semi-final at the US Open last year, both struggled for any fluency in the second set as eight successive breaks of serve showed that nerves were beginning to show.
Kerber squandered two set points at 6-5, the first saved by an exquisite Errani drop shot, and was left to regret it as the Italian raced away with the tiebreaker, securing victory when the German went wide with a second service return.