French Open - Reed: Stunning Stosur, disappointing Dementieva

Eurosport - Thu, 03 Jun 17:21:00 2010

Sam Stosur was absolutely top-notch in her win over Jelena Jankovic. She played very nearly today as her second set against Justine Henin and her first set against Serena Williams.

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And on that kind of form, I'm not sure anyone would have been able to stop her. Maybe Henin at her best would have been able to cope with the Australian's power - but no one else.

Having said that, Jankovic looked very sluggish and it was a strange match from the Serb. She clearly had a game plan to come out and hit hard against Stosur. But it didn't work in the first set as she was missing so many of her groundstrokes.

There was a sign early in the second set that she had changed her plan slightly and sure enough she raced out to an early lead.

But credit to Stosur, she just blasted away and there was nothing Jankovic could do; and that backhand of the Australian's, her weaker shot, just gets better and better.

With the wins she's had in this tournament and with all she's been through in the past - spending almost 12 months unable to play due to Lyme Disease - I'm reasonably confident she will hold up mentally in the final.

She has shown frailty in the past and if she does so again on Saturday, Francesca Schiavone will have a real chance. But if Stosur keeps this up I'm afraid the final will be a mismatch and probably won't last much longer than today.

Elena Dementieva's withdrawal against Schiavone was very disappointing; not only for the crowd but for Dementieva as well.

We've since heard that it was a tear in her left calf muscle that finally put an end to the Russian's tournament.

Why she didn't have it strapped I don't know. She apparently sustained the injury in her second match of the tournament, against Anabel Medina Garrigues, so it's bewildering.

There was just a hint that she wasn't able to walk well in between points but she didn't call for the trainer or have it strapped so it was definitely a shock.

Would it have been different if she'd won the first set? Would she still have retired? Probably not.

But because it's Elena Dementieva and she does not have a record of this sort of thing, we have got to take it on face value.

Schiavone is the last person you want to be playing if you're injured; she just gets everything back. The Italian's performance was not as good today as her last match, against Caroline Wozniacki, but she still played well.

Only in patches though - and she'll have to play a lot better in the final if she wants to win the title.

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Looking ahead to the men's semi-finals, I think Jurgen Melzer stands little chance against Rafael Nadal.

He produced a super-performance against Novak Djokovic but a tough five-set match is not great preparation for Nadal. Rafa is seemingly in great shape, there appears to be no recurrence of his knee injuries and we all know how tough he is mentally.

I have Rafa winning that one in some comfort; he might drop the first set but I doubt it. And if he wins the first set, he'll run away with it.

Robin Soderling has been playing amazing tennis. But he needs to put Tomas Berdych away quickly in his semi-final.

Berdych does have a chance. He hits hard and he hits true, to use a boxing metaphor, and his form has been terrific in the past two weeks. But Soderling has been quite excellent.

Berdych could easily take a set, but I'd back Soderling to win it in four.

And if he does take it in four sets and the match doesn't go on for too long, then the final against Nadal should be an absolute cracker.

Simon Reed / Eurosport

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