05 June 2010
Francesca Schiavone said she never expected to win a Grand Slam, but always dreamed of it. On Saturday she achieved that dream and became the first Italian woman to ever win a Grand Slam tennis championship with a 6-4, 7-6(2) win over Samantha Stosur at Roland Garros.
Schiavone came back from a 1-4 deficit in the second set and sent the match to a tie-break where she completely dominated Stosur and quickly raced to victory. With a wicked one-hand backhand and strong intuition at the net, Schiavone played like a woman-possessed as she defeated Stosur for only the second time in six career meetings.
While the pairing formed perhaps the most unlikely female Grand Slam final in the history of the game, both players put on quite the show for the crowd with their strong play. Seeded seventh and coming into the tournament with a 14-2 record on clay in 2010, Stosur was favored to win today but could not seem to find that extra gear. Despite defeating former French Open champions Justine Henin and Serena Williams along the way, Stosur could not figure out the unique brand of tennis that Schiavone brought on court.
As her one-hand backhand bounced off the frame of Stosur's racquet and into the crowd on match point, Schiavone fell onto her back in jubilation and then rolled over to plant one last kiss on the red-clay. After shaking her opponent's hand and acknowledging the crowd, the Italian then climbed up into the stands to celebrate with the strong contingent that made-up her support-team.
Interviewed on-court by John McEnroe after the match, Schiavone was asked matter-of-factly, "How in the world did you pull this off?"
Schiavone replied by saying, "I tried to take the time and push as much as I could and in the end I did so good today."
Asked if she felt much pressure she responded, "No pressure, no. I felt many emotions. This morning I was crying...In the end I believe so much in myself and I try to stay focused on my play and to really enjoy from the heart."
Supporters in the crowd wore t-shirts embroidered with the slogan "Nothing Is Impossible." Francesca Schiavone revealed the truth in that statement with her incredible win today.
The interview with McEnroe was light-hearted and revealed the enormous joy that was flowing through Schiavone. When the seven-time Grand Slam champion McEnroe asked her what her celebration plans would include she replied, "
The interview with McEnroe was light-hearted and revealed the enormous joy that was flowing through Schiavone. When the seven-time Grand Slam champion McEnroe asked her what her celebration plans would include she replied, "I don’t know, what do you do?"
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