Women's Semifinal Previews and Picks
The editors of TENNIS.com preview Thursday's French Open semifinals—and offer their picks.
(6) Samantha Stosur vs. (21) Sara Errani
—Head to Head: Stosur leads 5-0
What Stosur must do to win
Remember what she did to beat Dominika Cibulkova in the last round. Like Cibulkova, Errani is undersized, which means Stosur can again use her high-kicking serve and heavy-topspin forehand to the get ball out of her strike zone. She should also be able to run around to hit her forehand and dictate play.
What Errani must do to win
Hang around. Stosur may come out firing and overpower her early, but the Aussie has a tendency to tighten up, especially late in Grand Slams. Errani should do whatever she can to make her opponent as many balls as possible.
Peter Bodo: Samantha Stosur
Errani's first trip to a Grand Slam semifinal, and the atmosphere it invites, will give her mental cramps, while Stosur's kick serves and excellent court positioning will wreak havoc with the Italian's consistency.
Steve Tignor: Samantha Stosur
She's unbeaten against Errani and has been to the final here before; the Italian is making her Slam semifinal debut and has very few wins over quality opponents.
Richard Pagliaro: Samantha Stosur
Errani owns a 23-3 clay-court record in 2012 and will be primed to reach her first major final. But if Stosur, who can get tight in majors, maintains her nerve and keeps her kick serve and forehand high—to handcuff the 5'4" Italian—she should reach her second French Open final in three years.
Ed McGrogan: Samantha Stosur
The late-blooming Aussie is becoming a big-match player (outside of Oz). And she should know by now not to underestimate a surging Italian at Roland Garros.
(2) Maria Sharapova vs. (4) Petra Kvitova
—Head to Head: Sharapova leads 3-2
What Sharapova must do to win
Take away Kvitova's access to angles by hitting deep drives down the middle to tie up the 6-foot Czech. Sharapova must make a high percentage of first serves with depth to prevent Kvitova from pounding her second serve. The world No. 2 is undefeated in three-setters this season, so her consistency and confidence are keys here.
What Kvitova must do to win
The Wimbledon winner has more weapons than the second seed, but has allowed Sharapova to engage her in slug fests in their recent meetings. Kvitova must use her slice serve wide, work the width of the court with angles, and occasionally draw Sharapova forward to exploit the Russian's movement. Kvitova was erratic at times in her quarterfinal win and must play with margin to establish consistency at the outset.
Peter Bodo: Maria Sharapova
Nobody does vengeance better than Sharapova, and she's getting an opponent who's struggled this year, not just with her game but with her nerves.
Steve Tignor: Maria Sharapova
Much depends on whether Kvitova is in hit mode or miss mode, and for how long; but Sharapova is on a very good roll at the moment.
Richard Pagliaro: Petra Kvitova
Sharapova has won their last two meetings, but Kvitova has more weapons. If she can find the consistency that has eluded her, she can impose her all-court game as she did in sweeping Sharapova for the Wimbledon title last July.
Ed McGrogan: Maria Sharapova
They both have physical liabilities—Sharapova's serve and Kvitova's movement—but the Russian's mental strength will see her through..