Sometimes Serena Williams really should be more careful in what she says. When she lost to Samantha Stosur in California’s Stanford tournament last July, so ending a nine match winning streak that featured her third Wimbledon title, the world no.1 was less than fulsome of praise. In fact she was downright demeaning.
Serena maintained the Australian who had battled back from a career threatening bout of the debilitating Lyme disease and viral meningitis after being bitten by a tick, was nothing but lucky. “She's a good framer,'' chided Serena, maintaining Stosur struggles to hit the ball with the sweet spot of the racket. ''She has mastered that.''
Ten months have apparently caused a massive reassessment. Now there is nothing disparaging about 26 year-old Stosur who reached last year’s French Open semi-final and suggested she could go even further this year by subjecting four times champion Justine Henin to her first defeat at Roland Garros in six years.
In fact, it seems as though Serena is about to campaign for presidency of the Stosur Appreciation Society. “Sam’s amazing,” said the French Open’s no.1 seed who now meets the player she first berated but now reveres in the quarter finals. “You can never underestimate anyone, and Sam is actually a wonderful clay‑court player. She's fast, strong, and has a great serve. I don't know if she has a real weakness. She plays a real all‑around game and that's what makes her like a real modern, really good player.”
Stosur could be forgiven for either grinning smugly without saying anything or let her recent form do the talking. Since losing to Serena at January’s Australian Open she’s won the clay court title in Charleston, got to the final of Stuttgart where she lost to Henin, and reached quarter finals in both Miami and Madrid.
Subsequently her ranking on the WTA Tour currently stands at a career high no.7 and she also possesses a philosophical and balanced outlook which sets her aside from her upcoming opponent which seems to veer from one extreme to the other.
“I guess a lot of people have changed their idea about what kind of tennis player I am recently,” said the girl from Queensland’s Gold Coast. “Probably none more so than myself. I maybe started to live up to that potential that everyone saw when I was younger and to be able to do that is a good thing.”
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