PARIS, June 3 – Samantha Stosur is out to end a 30-year-long drought for Australian women in Grand Slam tennis following her wins over Justine Henin and Serena Williams.The 26-year-old Gold Coast resident reached the semi-finals of the French Open for the second straight year on Wednesday with a thrilling 6-2, 6-7 (2/7), 8-6 win over the top-seeded American.
Next up is Serbian fourth seed Jelena Jankovic, whom she beat in straight sets the last time they played, with the winner of the tie between Elena Dementieva and Francesco Schiavone in prospect for Saturday’s final.
A win then would make Stosur the first Australian woman to win a Grand Slam title since Evonne Goolagong won Wimbledon as a mother in 1980.
Stosur knows that she has as good a chance as anyone and taking into account her back-to-back wins over Henin and Williams, she will be the favourite in some books.
"I think I’ve got as good a chance as anyone," she said.
"I’m in the semis now; I played two great matches. Hopefully they’re both gonna help me for tomorrow’s match.
"Two great matches back to back for me, which is fantastic and it’s not over yet.
"Now I’m in the semis, and I want to definitely try and keep going.
"I made it to this point last year. If I can try and go another set further, then that would be great."
It has been a wonderful last 12 months for Stosur who made her big breakthrough here when she reached the 2009 semi-finals and lost to eventual winner Svetlana Kuznetsova.
That capped a long comeback that followed the debilitating Lyme’s Disease illness that laid her low for eight months from September 2007 and nearly wrecked her career.
"I guess it could have threatened my career," she said.
"I didn’t ever really let myself think about that when I was in it, but from what I’ve been told and all the doctors and all that, it’s not a good thing to get.
"I think I turned it around. And from people that I’ve spoken to, I think I’m pretty fortunate that I was able to come back and be healthy so quickly."
Turning to her clash with Jankovic, Stosur said that although it would be on a different court surface from the one they played on in Miami, she would still be able to take some things out of it.
"I’m still going to have to play the way I want to play: be aggressive and do what I want to do and try and dictate to her a little bit more," she said.
"I know she’s going to hit tons and tons of balls in. I have to be prepared to be patient and wait for my opportunity a bit more."