Williams next up for Stosur

AUSTRALIA’S Samantha Stosur has set up a French Open quarter-final meeting with world No.1 Serena Williams after snapping Justine Henin’s Roland Garros winning streak.

The 26-year-old Gold Coaster outlasted the four-time French Open champion 2-6 6-1 6-4 in 1 hr 46 min on Monday night (Australian time). It was the Belgian’s first loss on the Parisian red clay since 2004.

World No.7 Stosur advanced to her second career grand slam quarter-final and improved her season clay court record to 18-2 – a Tour best ahead of the vanquished Venus Williams (15-3) and Henin (8-3).

Stosur faces Williams tonight at 10pm in what is being billed as a major power battle and the match of the quarter-finals.

“That’s obviously a great achievement for me, but it’s not over yet. I’m just in the quarters and going to play the No. 1 player in the world next,” Stosur said after her biggest career singles win.

“You know, it’s not over yet, but it’s definitely something I can take a lot of confidence out of. And to know that going into that match against Serena I’ve just done that is, I think, going to help me.”

For Stosur to reach her second straight French Open semi-final she must overcome 12-time Grand Slam champion Williams, who boasts a 3-1 record over the Australian. It will be their first meeting on clay – Stosur’s best surface.

Williams, the 2002 French Open champion, had earlier trounced Israeli Shahar Peer 6-2 6-2 in 1hr 7min but was wary of her quarter-final opponent. “Sam is actually a wonderful clay-court player,” Williams said. “She’s someone you can’t overlook. She has a good chance to go all the way.

“She’s fast, strong, and has a great serve. You know, I don’t know if she has a real weakness. She plays a real all-around game, so I think that’s what makes her like a real modern, really good player.

“She’s no pushover, that’s for sure. She’s beaten me before, so I have to be on my best game.”

There were a number of momentum swings Stosur-Henin match, which ultimately swung in the Australian’s favour as she took the final three games against the queen of clay.

The Queensland all-court player sealed victory with a smash on her second match point after a nervous double fault at 40-15. Stosur, who regained her composure and set up the final point with a signature kick serve, had also displayed her new-found mental toughness.

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