French Open

Bartoli hops into semis

2011-06-01 09:32
Marion Bartoli (AP)

Paris - Hopping around between points to psych herself up. Swinging away at nothing but air while awaiting an opponent's serve. Screaming with abandon at almost any time during a match.

Hey, that must be Marion Bartoli out on court.

The 11th-seeded Frenchwoman is known for her eccentricities while playing tennis, but they all seem to be paying off at this year's French Open - right into the semi-finals, where Bartoli finds herself after beating Svetlana Kuznetsova 7-6 (4), 6-4 on Tuesday.

"It's really to stay focused on what I have to do," Bartoli said in explaining her quirks. "It's really important for me to release the pressure off the scoreboard and focus on myself and what I need to do."

She is only the fourth Frenchwoman to reach the semi-finals at Roland Garros in the Open era, which began in 1968.

Bartoli, who next faces defending champion Francesca Schiavone, is known as a maverick in France. With her father as coach, she has clashed with the French Tennis Federation and Fed Cup captain Nicolas Escude.

But she has also already reached one Grand Slam final, at Wimbledon in 2007, when she lost to Venus Williams. Now Bartoli finds herself in a major semifinal for the second time.

"Even if I played the final of Wimbledon, I never felt that excited," Bartoli said, describing her emotions as victory neared against Kuznetsova. "When she missed that final forehand, then I was just like, 'My God, I'm in the semifinals of my home Grand Slam."'

On Wednesday, Australian Open runner-up Li Na and No. 4 Victoria Azarenka will play for another semifinal spot, as will three-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova and No. 15 Andrea Petkovic.

Bartoli said she has often crumbled under the pressure of playing at Roland Garros, advancing past the second round only twice in 10 previous attempts. To reach the final, she will have to beat Schiavone, who rallied to defeat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 1-6, 7-5, 7-5.

The fifth-seeded Schiavone was two points from defeat before rallying to beat the 19-year-old Pavlyuchenkova. She was the youngest quarterfinalist at this year's tournament; the 30-year-old Schiavone was the oldest.

"I never stopped believing in what I could do," Schiavone said. "I started too slow, absolutely too slow. But in the end, I felt better."

A year ago in Paris, Schiavone became the first Italian woman to win any Grand Slam singles title. Bartoli is hoping to give France its first singles champion at Roland Garros since Mary Pierce in 2000.

"In the past years, I really felt the pressure here, but in a bad way," Bartoli said of her history at the clay-court major. "I was really going to the court without any confidence."

But her unusual routine has helped her deal with the pressure - and perplexed some of her opponents.

"It's weird," the 13th-seeded Kuznetsova said. "I just try not to think about it. It's a little bit hard, a bit frustrating, when you serve and you look at the opponent, and she's swinging the racket."

In Tuesday's match, Bartoli broke Kuznetsova twice in the third set and finished with only 21 unforced errors, 12 fewer than the 2009 French Open champion.

"She had all the luck possible," Kuznetsova said. "She hit so many lines. My balls were going three millimeters, four millimeters out. I missed so many chances."

Read more on:    french open  |  marion bartoli

Serena notches 700th win

2015-04-01 22:23


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
  • Blitz
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @00:00
  • SS1
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @01:00
  • SS2
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @02:00
  • SS3
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @03:00
Video Highlights
Sport Talk


Which is your favourite Grand Slam of the year?

Love 2 Meet

Got something you'd like to get off your chest? Got a burning desire to air an opinion? If so, be sure to sign-up on Sport24's FORUM!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

Forum Have your Say on Sport24's brand new Forum!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.