French Open: Samantha Stosur holds off Tsvetana Pironkova to reach third semifinal

French Open: Samantha Stosur holds off Tsvetana Pironkova to reach third semifinal

21st seed and 2010 Roland Garros finalist Samantha Stosur held off Bulgarian Tsevtana Pironkova 6-4, 7-6 to reach her third last four at the French Open.

thomas-cluck
Thomas Cluck

Australian 21st seed and 2010 French Open Samantha Stosur kept up her fine clay court form, holding off Bulgaria's Tsvetana Pironkova 6-4, 7-6 to reach her third semifinal in Paris. Stosur will look to repeat her success here in 2010, after falling in her first last four matchups in 2009.

Stosur fights through rollercoaster opening set

Stosur began the match holding off a Pironkova backhand error in a tight opening game before the Bulgarian held easily. The Aussie then played a very loose service game, getting broken by Pironkova due to a wary Stosur forehand. The 2011 US Open champion recovered the break immediately, though, leveling the score at 2-2. The 2010 Wimbledon semifinalist kept the streak of breaks going, grabbing the break back for a 3-2 lead. The Bulgarian held for 4-2, putting herself in a good position to take the set. 

The 21st seeded Stosur then held in another long, deuce game before the world number 24 snatched the break back to level at 4-all. The former finalist kept up the momentum, taking her third straight game to force Pironkova to serve to stay in the set. With the pressure on the former Wimbledon semifinalist, Stosur upped her game to break Pironkova at a crucial juncture to take the opening set 6-4 after reeling off four straight games from 4-2 down. 

Samantha Stosur slides into a backhand at the French Open in Paris/Getty Images
Samantha Stosur slides into a backhand at the French Open in Paris/Getty Images

Stosur and Pironkova exchange breaks for tiebreak 

Stosur and Pironkova exchanged holds before the Bulgarian claimed an early break of the Australian's serve for 2-1. The 2010 Wimbledon semifinalist consolidated the break, holding for a 3-1 lead. The former finalist then held to keep the margin to a solitary break, before gaining the break back with a big forehand winner for 3-all. 

Stosur and Pironkova then exchanged holds again, bringing the score to 4-all. The Aussie world number 24 kept the pressure on her 102nd ranked opponent, holding easily to force Pironkova to serve to stay in the match.

The Bulgarian responded beautifully, holding easily to love, punctuating the game with a big ace. After almost no straight forward games the entire match, Stosur made it two in a row, holding to love to again make Pironkova serve to stay in it. The Bulgarian made it three love holds in a row, cracking a backhand winner to force a tiebreak. 

Samantha Stosur hits a serve at the French Open in Paris/Getty Images
Samantha Stosur hits a serve at the French Open in Paris/Getty Images

Stosur seals the deal in error-filled tiebreak to move into last four 

Stosur began the tiebreak falling behind on her serve, with Pironkova moving into the net to put away a backhand volley winner. The Australian responded though, drawing the Bulgarian into the net and this time forcing a missed backhand volley for 1-1. A sloppy forehand error cost Stosur again, giving the advantage to Pironkova at 2-1. The Grand Slam champion fell behind even more, with a backhand sailing long before a costly double fault to go behind 4-1. 

The former finalist's collapse kept up, with another forehand going wide to give the 102nd ranked player a 5-1 lead. Stosur was able to stop the rot though, with Pironkova this time, making the errors to bring the scoreline to 5-3. The Bulgarian then committed another forehand error for 5-4, before Stosur made one as well to bring up two set points for Pironkova. 

Two more unforced errors cost Pironkova bringing the score to 6-6 before the Bulgarian committed another error to bring up a match point for Stosur at 7-6. Another forehand error off the racquet of Pironkova cost her, giving the match to Stosur 6-4, 7-6 to move on to her third Roland Garros semifinal. 

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