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FRENCH OPEN

Stosur to meet Schiavone in final after thrashing Jankovic

Text by: NEWS WIRES
4 min

Australia's Samantha Stosur (pictured, right) knocked out fourth-seed Jelena Jankovic Thursday to set up a French Open final with Italy's first-time finalist Francesca Schiavone (pictured, left).

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AFP - It took a little over two hours on Thursday for the French Open to have in place its most unlikely final in years in the shape of Samantha Stosur against Francesca Schiavone.

Firstly Schiavone, three weeks shy of her 30th birthday and seeded a lowly 22nd, went through to Saturday's chamionship match when opponent Elena Dementieva retired injured with a torn calf muscle after dropping a first set tie-breaker 7/3.

Then Stosur, the seventh seeded Australian, trounced Serbia's Jelena Jankovic for the loss of just three games in exactly one hour.

Some centre court fans had barely taken up their seats on the Philippe Chatrier centre court than it was all over and they were heading off home again.

It was always going to be a different-looking final after the ousting of such big names as the Williams sisters, Justine Henin and last year's winner Svetlana Kuznetsova.

But the expectations had been that it would be between fourth seed Jankovic and fifth seed Dementieva, both of whom had previously played and lost in a Grand Slam final.

Instead, Stosur, who first saw a claycourt when she was 15, stands on the cusp of becoming the first Australian to win a Grand Slam title since Evonne Goolagong at Wimbledon in 1980.

"Fantastic - I couldn't have asked to play a much better match in the semi-finals (of a Grand Slam) so to do that today and be in the final is just incredible. "It was just - next point - give me the balls and here we go again."

Stosur has beaten present or past world number ones in each of her last three matches - Justine Henin, Serena Williams and Jankovic.

Schiavone is the first Italian woman to reach a Grand Slam final and should she win on Saturday she would be the first player ranked outside the world top 10 to do so since Margaret Scriven in 1933.

Asked why Grand Slam success had come to her at such a late stage in her career, Schiavone replied: "I think everybody is different. I think it's my time now. Maybe before I wasn't ready.

"Maybe before I had the chance and I didn't catch it, so I think now I have just to live and to keep going to work like I did for many years."

The joy of Stosur and Schiavone contrasted to the despair of Dementieva and Jankovic who between them have played in 73 Grand Slam tournaments and have yet to win one.

The Russian, who lost in both the French and US Open finals in 2004, said that she had been in pain for several days with the calf injury.

"But I really wanted to play because it's a very special tournament for me.  So I was pushing very hard myself to go through the pain. But I cannot do more than that. I just try my best. Couldn't do any better."

Jankovic said she had been caught out by the abrupt ending to the first semi-final.

"I started the match kind of cold, maybe because the first match finished quite quickly," said the Serb who lost to Serena Williams in the 2008 US Open final.

"We had like 10, 15 minutes to get ready. I got kind of into the match quite cold, and I had a tough time moving.

"I'm angry. It's not easy not to lose like this, but it's the way the game goes. I just have to stay positive, and I will have another chance."

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