The dream continues for two competitors at the 2010 French Open. The final match was set after Samantha Stosur defeated Jelena Jankovic, and Francesca Schiavone beat Elena Dementieva Thursday morning. For both players, it will be the first time they appear in a Grand Slam final.
Schiavone reached not only a personal milestone, but one for her country as well. She is the first Italian woman to reach a major final ever. Her opponent, Dementieva, retired after losing the first set in a tie break 7-6 (3). She is the first Italian to reach the final of a Grand Slam since Adriano Panatta won the French Open in 1976
After the set Dementieva walked over to where Schiavone was sitting and pulled out of the match. The two shook hands, and Schiavone stood up to acknowledge the crowd.
“For the moment, I don’t understand what’s going on,” Schiavone said.
In moment that mirrored her quarterfinal celebration, the Italian bent down and kissed the clay at Roland Garros. Reporters asked Schiavone how the clay tasted after the match.
“It was good,” Schiavone said. “So good.”
Never advancing past a quarterfinal at a Grand Slam, Schiavone has already enjoyed her success. She has become an instant celebrity in Italy following her victories.
“I’ve already made history for my country,” she said. “In Italy, also, they are very happy, and is time to enjoy for us, for everybody.”
Dementieva said that she almost pulled out of a match last week after suffering a calf tear in the second round. Instead, she pulled out of the semifinal after 69 minutes. The Russian said she probably would have retired even if she had won the first set.
Despite playing more points, the second match of the day lasted longer than the first. Stosur turned in an exceptional performance beating Jankovic handily 6-1, 6-2. Samantha has long been touted as a doubles specialist, but the 26-year old cracked the top ten last week in singles.
She used her strong serve and large forehand to defeat Jankovic in the same fashion that helped her defeat the former French Open champions Justine Henin and Serena Williams. After falling behind 2-0 in the second set, the Aussie fought back to win six games in a row and the match.
“She’s a strong girl,” Jankovic said. “You can see by looking at her physically. She can hit pretty big, and she has one of the strongest serves in the women’s game.”
Tennis Sportsbooks have set Stosur as the favorite over Schiavone at -430. Schiavone’s underdog line has been set at +350. The meeting between the two will be the fifth time two competitors are competing for their first Grand Slam title in the Open Era.