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HomeSportsFrancesca Schiavone dispatches Sam Stosur in straight sets to seal French Open crown

Francesca Schiavone dispatches Sam Stosur in straight sets to seal French Open crown

Francesca Schiavone dispatches Sam Stosur in straight sets to seal French Open crown

Francesca Schiavone produced another inspired display of all-court tennis in the French Open final to become the first Italian woman to win a grand slam. (Photo: Joy: Francesca Schiavone kisses the clay at Roland Garros after sealing her first Grand Slam)

Schiavone stunned hot favourite Samantha Stosur on Philippe Chatrier Court to win one of the best women’s finals of recent times 6-4 7-6 (7/2) in one hour and 38 minutes.

The 29-year-old once again celebrated victory by kissing the clay, though this time she first fell backwards in jubilation as she became the second oldest first-time winner of a major.

An ecstatic Schiavone said: ‘I didn’t prepare anything because, if I prepare something, it will never happen.

‘I always watched every final of this tournament and I know what the big champions say. I want to thank everybody.

‘I felt amazing today. I feel a real champion and I’m very, very happy. I have to say congrats to Sam because I think she’s a great, great person and she’s a great athlete.

An emotional Stosur said of Schiavone: ‘You played very well today and a great tournament. Well done and good luck for the rest of the year.’

Both women were making their grand slam final debut, only the fifth time that had happened in the Open era.

Stosur was the first Australian female grand slam finalist for 30 years and had won the last four of her five meetings with 17th seed Schiavone.

The former’s strength told at the start, the serve and forehand that disposed of Justine Henin, Serena Williams and Jelena Jankovic helping her to two quickfire love service games.

Schiavone, who was also serving as well as she had done all tournament, had a sniff of a break when she got to 0-30 and deuce in game five, but Stosur pulled out the big guns again to hold.

It was high-quality stuff from both women, Schiavone holding from deuce with some delightful net play.

Francesca Schiavone2

Smashing: Francesca Schiavone clinched the crown in just an hour and 38 minutes

More followed in subsequent games and a brilliant chip and charge set up 0-40 in the ninth game.

Seventh seed Stosur got lucky to save two break points but double-faulted on the third.

Schiavone came back from 0-30 down serving for the set and Stosur saved one set point with more brutal strokeplay before netting a backhand to give her opponent the game.

Stosur, who was struggling badly when she got anywhere inside the service line, was not used to seeing so many balls come back as Schiavone persistently made sure she had to play one more shot.

There was controversy in game three of the second set when the Italian complained about a ball she thought was long.

But she had played on and was rightly told she should have stopped if she wanted to challenge the call.

Out of reach: The French Open crown proved a step too far for Sam Stosur

A fired-up Schiavone got to 15-40 anyway before Stosur – roared on by chants of ‘Aussie, Aussie, Aussie’ – battled back to hold.

The Australian’s forehand finally gave her a first break point in game four, but it was her backhand which converted it at the second time of asking.

Stosur raced through the next game but found herself 0-40 down again in game seven, a wild forehand gifting the Italian the break back.

Both women served almost imperiously for the rest of the set and a tie break ensued.

Schiavone took the first mini-break when Stosur’s discomfort at the net let her down again.

To rub it in, the Italian showed her how it should be done before hitting a Stosur-esque forehand and a sublime stop volley to bring up four championship points.

She only needed one to complete a stunning success.

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