Samantha Stosur is a versatile Australian simultaneously able to surf and follow rugby. She also is skilled enough to juggle fits of emotion with self-motivation, both on display Saturday in a 6-3, 7-6 Family Circle Cup semifinal victory over Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia.
Stosur, the No. 4 seed, plays No. 7 seed Vera Zvonareva in today's final at 1 p.m. on ESPN2.
"I don't get too mad with myself for showing emotion like that as long as I can step up to the line the next point and play a good one and still be kind of in control of the way I'm playing," Stosur said, "and maybe I didn't do that initially. But to be able to come back and really fix it up from 5-2, then that's pleasing."
This is a sweet chance for Stosur to snag her biggest career singles title; Osaka in 2009 is her only WTA Tour singles crown. A veteran doubles star who shot from No. 52 to No. 13 in singles rankings last year, the 26-year-old Brisbane native currently is ranked No. 11, with top 10 status on deck.
In Friday's quarterfinals, Hantuchova upset No. 2 seed Jelena Jankovic, 1-6, 6-3, 6-3.
She was cruising along, having defeated Patty Schnyder and Nadia Petrova in Miami last month before losing a three-set match to Venus Williams.
"Definitely, there are a lot of positives I can take from this trip here to the U.S.," said Hantuchova, who turns 27 next week. "I feel like I was playing very well in Miami with Venus, and it just showed me that if I play my game, I can play with anybody."
Stosur leads the head-to-head series with Zvonareva, 4-2. Included: A 6-2, 7-5 hardcourt victory in February at Indian Wells, Calif.
They have not met on clay.
"I'll probably look over those notes from that match at Indian Wells and work up what I did well then and what helped me win the match," Stosur said. "And it's probably going to be pretty similar even though we're on a clay court. But I have to expect her to run down a few more balls, and if you have to hit maybe two or three winning balls each rally, then I'll have to be able to do that."
Reach Gene Sapakoff at email@example.com or (843) 937-5593.
Vera Zvonareva vs. Samantha Stosur
(Stosur leads, 4-2)
Year Site Result
2004 Fed Cup Zvonareva 6-2, 6-3
2004 Wimbledon Zvonareva 6-4, 6-4
2007 Sydney Stosur 6-1, 6-4
2007 Tokyo Stosur 6-4, 6-7, 6-4
2008 Stanford Stosur 6-3, 6-2
2009 Indian Wells Stosur 6-2, 7-5