For the first time in nearly three years, Samantha Stosur and Sloane Stephens will cross paths on the professional tour to determine who will advance to the final of the Internationaux de Strasbourg. It is just the second overall meeting between the two foes, as they met in the 2012 French Open. Stosur leads the head-to-head series 1-0 and will look to remain undefeated against her American opponent.
On Thursday afternoon, Stosur advanced to the semi-final stage in Strasbourg with a three-set victory against Ajla Tomljanovic. She won the match 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 and managed to withstand 14 aces by winning 80% of her first service points to close out the match in two hours and four minutes.
“It was a very tough match, I thought we both played a very good level of tennis an there wasn’t much in it,” Stosur said in her on-court interview. “I think Ajla, in the second and third sets, started serving very well and I just had to take my chances when I had them and hang in there when I couldn’t.”
Later on in the day, Sloane Stephens advanced to the final four by losing only one game in her match against Jelena Jankovic. Her Serbian adversary was forced to retire from the match after dropping the opening set 6-1 in 34 minutes.
“Sloane can do anything on the court – she’s a very talented player – and even though her ranking has dropped a bit lately she still has the capability to play very well,” she added. “I think looking past your opponent at this stage is a trap that you can fall into. Of course if you’re still there in the semifinals there’s a very good chance that you could win the tournament.
“The next match is going to be very difficult and I have to be 100% focused on that. I need to go out there and play and if I find myself in the final that’ll be fantastic and I’ll be very excited. So far I’m playing well.”
This is just the second time that Stephens and Stosur will cross paths on the professional tour, with the Australian leading the head-to-head series 1-0. It has been years since their most recent encounter, yet the odds still favour the more consistent Stosur, even though Stephens appears to be regaining form.
Prediction: Sam Stosur in Three Sets