SI.com caught up with Sports Illustrated senior writer S.L. Price after Samantha Stosur defeated Serena Williams in the French Open quarterfinals, 6-2, 6-7 (2), 8-6. Price is in Paris covering the tournament.
How surprising was this result?
In the macro sense it is very surprising. Serena Williams is Serena Williams. She is the number one player in the world. She won the Australian Open and she is the best fighter on tour. But Stosur has incredible results on clay this year and the best record on the tour on that surface. She also took out the greatest mover on clay in the game in Justine Henin. So in one sense it's not a surprise because of how Stosur has played this year. But at the same time, she had to go and do it. Serena had a match point and Stosur fought through it. Stosur was fading in this match, but then came roaring back in the third set to put Serena away. It's as impressive a performance as we have seen on the women's tour this year.
What does the loss mean for Serena?
I spoke to her mother, Brandy, after the match and she told me that if Serena plays well, after a loss she will still be chatty and approachable afterward. But Serena did not play well today and Brandy won't be able to talk to her at all. She said Serena will be miserable. But this is not Serena's favorite surface. Soon, everyone will move to Wimbledon and the Williams sisters love the fast surfaces. I don't think this loss dents her too badly. It's not as devastating a loss historically as Roger Federer's was yesterday. But it won't be a pleasant night in the Williams family household.
Of the four women's semifinalists, who do you like to win the tournament?
With the players remaining, Jelena Jankovic is my pick. She's dropped one set this entire tournament. She loves the surface. I think she is due. Francesca Schiavone, who will take on Elena Dementieva, is in many ways the most fun player to watch. She has the most variety and is a fascinating player with her attitude on the court. And you can't discount Stosur because she just beat the best player in the world and Henin back to back. That's an incredible confidence boost. The matchup between Stosur and Jankovic should be tremendous.
What do you expect at Wimbledon on the women's side based on the French results?
Coming into the French Open I think everyone assumed or figured Henin would re-establish herself as a force in the game. I think the notion was she would sort of consolidate her finals appearance in Australia and be in her prime going for the one major title that has eluded her. That's now up for grabs. Henin's form here was not the best. She was very spotty. She did not play with conviction. Her state of mind for this year's Wimbledon is a real question now.
Venus Williams seemed on a bit of a roll and then hit a roadblock on a really dark day in Paris. But the grass always revitalizes Venus and I would be surprised if she did not make a good run at the All-England Club. The one thing Brandy Williams did say about both sisters is that their historically relative poor performances in Paris are a big reason they do so well at Wimbledon. They get mad and refocus their game. The grass is a great surface for them and they are motivated. I would expect Venus and Serena to go deeper in London than they did in Paris.
You've covered Roger Federer for a long time. What do you expect from him for the rest of the year?
On a talent alone, I honestly believe Federer can win a Grand Slam event a year for the next five years. I don't think the losses hurt him as much as they did a year ago. Winning the French Open last year changed everything for him and as a result I do think he has lost a slight bit of motivation. I think he is enjoying himself and he's even said he is enjoying himself in a way he has never done so before. I think that is great for him as a person but dangerous for him as a competitor. I fully expect him to be a favorite going into Wimbledon and one of the top two favorites going into the U.S. Open as well. But it's going to get increasingly dicey for him as time goes on.