Hey! Did you guys know that Sam Stosur is actually pretty good at tennis? I KNOW, RIGHT??? I TOTALLY forgot. But then she steps onto this magic red dust and *poof* she reminds us all that yeah, she's pretty good tennis and yeah, she's pretty fucking extra good when that tennis is played on dirt. She beat Bepa in Stuttgart to make her first semifinal (losing to eventual champ Gools, which...is what Sam does), had a bit of a blip on the quick courts of Madrid, and now she's made her first final since Roland Garros (dude...I know), beating some quality opponents, vanquishing some demons, and most importantly, turning in some high-quality performances that served as a reminder to everyone (including herself) that she can be absolutely devasting on clay.
First up, taking out Frank, on clay, in Rome. This was no easy task. Frank told the Italian press that her goals for 2011 were to win Rome and defend Paris, both of which she believed she could do. So....PRESHUH. For sure Sam was in better form coming into this rematch, but Lordie, I just don't know what to expect when these two square off. How would Sam perform playing against Frank, on red clay, in Rome, in front of 12,000 vocal Italians?
As it turned out, pretty damn good. She turned in her best performance since Roland Garros. Dominating tennis from first point to last point without ever having a lapse or allowing Frank (or the crowd) to believe she could get back into the match. I wooted in my pants.
Second up, the resurgent Nails, who's finally finding her form since her Moose-like post AO slump. She's dumped her husband as coach (just as coach, you guys, just as coach) and the change seems to have given her a spark. On Saturday she battled back from a break down in the first set to force a tiebreak, in which she would have a set point. But despite being broken while initially serving for the set, Sam steeled herself and eeked out the tiebreaker 8-6. After that it was all Sam, who quickly dropped a bagel on Nails to advance to the final.
She'll get Masha, who, let me remind everyone, she has never ever in her entire life beaten. Yeah yeah yeah, they've never played on clay. But I'll be absolutely Home-Alone-Aftershave-Scene shocked if Sam gets her first title of the year here. And I'm ok with that. Just don't play like an idiot and I'll be happy, Sammo.
Don't you love my high expectations?
(Pics: Getty, Forty Deuce)