Stosur wins 2011 US Open for first Grand Slam

In what is being dubbed as one of the greatest upset in recent tennis history, #7-seed Sam Stosur beat #28-seed Serena Williams in straight sets 62 63 to win the 2011 US Open and her first grand slam singles title. Despite being ranked lower, Williams was the heads-on favorite to win the match. She won 2 hardcourt titles over the summer including a straight set victory over Stosur in Toronto, and she headed into the championship match without dropping a set and riding an 18-match winning streak. Serena is also the most formidable Grand Slam opponent in this generation, winning 13 grand slam titles in 16 championship matches.
Stosur played a clean aggressive match with 20 winners and just 12 unforced errors. Serena was erratic with 19 winners and 25 unforced errors – still good enough to beat a lot of players but not the Australian on this particular day. Stosur now joins Na Li and Petra Kvitova as first time grand slam winners this year. She also became the first Australian woman to win a singles grand slam title in 38 years. Stosur’s US Open prize will be $1.8 million – her biggest single paycheck to date. Serena on the other hand will bring home $1.4 million – $900,000 for the runner-up prize and an additional $500,000 bonus from winning the US Open series.
Stosur was playing a grand slam championship match for the second time. In 2010, she was the favorite to take the French Open title but was beaten by an inspired Francesca Schiavone. In her interview, Stosur credits her self belief but also her bewilderment on how she managed to win the tournament.
“I had to believe I had a chance. Having two victories over her in the past helped me feel it was possible. I was able to step up and hit my favorite shot – my forehand – off nearly every second serve she hit, which put her under pressure every time she missed a first serve… After that first set I sat down and could feel my heart pounding out of my chest. I thought, ‘I’m up a set now, I’ve got a chance to win one out of the next two.”
“I can’t believe I actually won this tournament. To go out there and play the way I did – you hope to be able to do that, but to actually do it is unbelievable.”
As for Serena, she was gracious in her praise for Stosur’s excellent play, and was reflective on her comeback so far. “I want to give all the credit to Sam, because I think she played really, really well… The last 14 months have been really hard. Six months ago I never thought I’d have even have a chance to play for the US Open, let alone seven weeks ago. I’m excited I’m healthy and alive, and still competing with the best.” She however, has an ominous warning for the other players. “But every time I lose, I get better. So watch out.”
Serena vs Stosur – 2011 US OPEN Final – Head to Head Match-up

4 (4) 2008 OLYMPICS HARD R32 S.Williams 6-2 6-0          79
2 (1) 2009 SYDNEY HARD R32 S.Williams 6-3 6-7(4) 7-5     46
2 (1) 2009 STANFORD HARD Q S. Stosur 6-2 3-6 6-2         20
1 (1) 2010 AUSTRALIAN OPEN HARD R16 S.Williams 6-4 6-2   13 (13)
1 (1) 2010 FRENCH OPEN CLAY Q S. Stosur 6-2 6-7(2) 8-6    7 (7)
80    2011 TORONTO HARD F S.Williams 6-4 6-2             11 (10)
31    2011 CINCINNATI HARD R32 S. Stosur W/O             10 (10)

13-time grand slam champion Serena Williams will be the heavy favorite when she faces Australian Samantha Stosur in the championship match of the 2011 US Open. Despite being seeded #28, the American has ripped through the draw of this year’s last grand slam without the loss of a set and has bundled out #4 Victoria Azarenka in the third round and #1 Caroline Wozniacki in the semifinals. She is now in the midst of a remarkable 18-match winning streak after winning two hardcourt tournaments over the summer. Serena hasn’t played for almost a year after winning her 13th grand slam title at Wimbledon in July 2010 due to injuries.

While Serena has won two tournaments this year, Stosur hasn’t won a single tournament although she reached the final of the Toronto tournament losing to Serena herself in straight sets. She will however relish her second trip to a grand slam final. She reached her first slam final at the 2010 French Open where she beat Serena in the quarterfinals when the American was then ranked #1 in the world. She has also beaten Serena in a hardcourt tournament winning their 2009 quarterfinal at Stanford in three sets. Stosur trails Serena 2-4 in their head-to-head series. She will try to emulate Na Li and Petra Kvitova in winning her first grand slam this year. Whatever the outcome of the match, Stosur will rise to the #7 ranking.

Serena will be playing in her 17th grand slam championship match. She has a 13-win and 3-loss record. Her losses are to Venus Williams at the 2000 US Open, Maria Sharapova at 2004 Wimbledon, and again to Venus Williams at Wimbledon in 2008.

Both women stand to gain a place in history if they win. For Serena, she will join the select list of Margaret Court, Billie Jean King, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova and Steffi Graf as the only women to have won the US Open at least 4 times. She will also win a total of $2.8 million for winning both the US Open and the US Open series – the single highest paycheck in either men or women’s tennis. For Stosur, she will be the first Australian woman to win the US Open in almost 40 years. The last winner from Down Under was Court.

Serena Williams on Sam Stosur:

“I feel like tomorrow going in we both have the same chances of winning.  She’s playing great.  I have been watching her this whole tournament.  I’m not surprised that she’s in the final. She’s such a great player and a great athlete and a nice girl.  You know, it’s definitely gonna be tough for me, so we’ll see.  You know, we’ll see.”

“… Sam’s such a fighter.  I think she is underrated as a fighter, because she often comes back when she’s down. So you have to really watch out for that.”

Sam Stosur on Serena Williams:

“I think playing Serena in a final is kind of bigger than maybe most other matches.  But obviously home crowd favorite American.  It’s gonna be a great atmosphere if it’s her.  And if it’s not her, then it’s gonna be fantastic as well.  We will see what happens and whoever my opponent ends up being.”

“I think the one good thing is that one of the matches I beat Serena was actually in a Grand Slam.  So I think that’s obviously a big, you know, confidence booster if I end up playing her to know that I have been able to do it in a major tournament. But, you know, every tournament is new, and she’s obviously been playing extremely well and wants to — she comes back, and I’m sure it’s always to win Grand Slam titles.  It’s gonna be tough if it’s against her.”

Serena Williams – Road to 2011 US Open Final

SF: bt #1-seed Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) – 62 64
QF: bt #17-seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) – 75 61
4R: bt #16-seed Ana Ivanovic (SRB) – 63 64
3R: bt #4-seed Victoria Azarenka (BLR) – 61 75
2R: bt Michaella Kracijek (NED) – 60 61
1R: bt Bojana Jovanovski (SRB) – 61 61

Samantha Stosur – Road to 2011 US Open Final

SF: bt Angelique Kerber (GER) – 63 26 62
QF: bt #2-seed Vera Zvonareva (RUS) – 63 63
4R: bt #25-seed Maria Kirilenko (RUS) – 62 67(15) 63
3R: bt #24-seed Nadia Petrova (RUS) – 76(5) 67(5) 75
2R: bt Coco Vandeweghe (USA) – 63 64
1R: bt Sofia Arvidsson (SWE) – 62 63