Stosur in sight of emotional final

Saturday, 10 September 2011 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Samantha Stosur is one win away from a likely US Open final against American tennis queen Serena Williams in New York on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Playing on such occasion in front of a parochial 23,000-plus crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium hardly needs embellishing.

Stosur must defeat German surprise packet Angelique Kerber and Williams subdue world No.1 Caroline Wozniacki in Saturday night’s (Sunday AM AEST) semi-finals for the showdown to become a reality.

Stosur, 27, looked up for completing her half of the deal by reaching her third grand slam semi-final with a 6-3 6-3 demolition of last year’s finalist Vera Zvonareva.

The quality of the Queenslander’s performance against the Russian world No.2 stamped her re-emergence as a legitimate grand slam contender.

Williams maintained her march towards the title by defeating Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 7-5 6-1 in front of her adoring home crowd and has yet to drop a set at the tournament.

Stosur is the only remaining player to have conquered the 13-time grand slam champion.

The Australian has tamed the American powerhouse twice, including in the quarter-finals on her way to last year’s French Open final.

But firstly the Queenslander must attend to stocky world No.92 Kerber, the latest in a growing line of talented German women’s players on tour.

“If you start thinking about Serena, you will lose to Kerber,” warned Stosur’s coach David Taylor.

Having never played or even had a hit against the unheralded European, Stosur’s camp keenly watched Kerber’s three-set quarter-final win over Italian 26th Flavia Pennetta.

“Sam’s the red hot favourite and I think she’s really handled the pressure well throughout the whole tournament and if she can do that, she’ll win,” said Taylor.

Reaching Sunday’s final (6am Monday AEST) would complete quite a turnaround for Stosur with many having written her off following her shock early exits at the French Open and Wimbledon this year.

“It’s all come together for her. It is confirmation that she is a top player,” Taylor said.

“You have to do it at the biggest moments and grand slams are those.”

Stosur has looked re-energised in New York.

She has been much more animated on the court and displayed fighting qualities in her epic third and fourth round wins that some thought didn’t exist.

However it was the way she took apart Zvonareva on Thursday that really set tongues wagging at Flushing Meadows.

At one stage Stosur won 12 straight points, her serving and returning exemplary for large chunks of the lop-sided contest.

She had entered Flushing Meadows in good form after impressive lead-up performances during the north American hardcourt season.

Having bombed out at the past two grand slams following similar preparations, many thought she couldn’t be trusted to perform at the majors.

“To have not had good grand slam results this year up until this tournament, obviously I wanted to try to do a lot better here,” Stosur said.

“Hopefully I can keep it going for a couple more days.”

Kerber was still coming to grips with playing in the final four at a grand slam.

“I wake up last night and I was thinking, it’s a dream or it’s real?” she said.

“The quarters was for me the best highlight of my career, and now I’m in the semis.

“It’s unbelievable.”