Sam Stosur produced a masterful performance to beat Vera Zvonareva, 6-3 6-3 and move into the semi-finals of the US Open. Both players started well in a competitive opening to the match; Vera was striking the ball well from the back of the court and Stosur was serving superbly. The first big moment in the match came at 3-2 when Stosur broke the Zvonareva serve. It was a real lapse in concentration from Vera who gifted the break to Stosur with a number of unforced errors. I felt that Stosur was not playing great in the first set and she was shanking quite a few forehands, but she played the key points much better. Zvonareva was extremely sloppy in the final game as she went long with 3 successive unforced errors and handed the set to Stosur on a plate.
At the start of the second set, Stosur was playing some marvellous tennis. She played a sparkling forehand down-the-line to gain three break points in the opening game. On the first break point, a lightning quick Stosur ran into the net and dinked a crosscourt winner past a stranded Zvonareva. Vera’s tactics were totally off the mark today as she failed to hit enough balls to the weaker backhand side of Stosur and she kept bringing her into the net, which did not work as Stosur was masterful there – Zvonareva won just 50% of her net approaches compared to 69% for Stosur.
The second set went with serve as to her credit, Vera kept fighting and served well to remain in the contest. It looked like the momentum might be turning at 4-3 when Zvonareva went 0-30 up, but Stosur was so mentally tight during this match and won 4 straight points to extinguish any hopes that Zvonareva had of turning this match around. Stosur then earnt a match point on the Zvonareva serve at 6-3 5-3, which she duly took with an epic rally where Vera couldn’t get hit past the incredibly rock solid Stosur.
Vera went to smash her racket at the end but drew away at the last minute! I was so impressed with Sammy… it was probably the best performance I have watched all week as she hit 25 winners to 17 unforced errors. I think the 7-2 (now 8-2) head-to-head record over Zvonareva really gave her the confidence today that she could win. I think her last two wins over Petrova and Kirilenko also helped as these were both superb performances, especially mentally and she is showing some excellent form as we move into the semis. I was made even happier as I had a cheeky bet on Sammy to win today 😉
Stosur will play the surprise package of the tournament, Angelique Kerber who overcame Flavia Pennetta in a momentum swinger of a Quarter, 6-4 4-6 6-3. Kerber has done extremely well to reach the semis but I cannot see her beating an in-form Stosur. It will be their first ever encounter on the WTA tour.
Prediction – Stosur to win 7-5 6-2