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French Open women's final as it happened

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By Caroline Cheese

1615: Not sure that Francesca Schiavone's win is going to change the face of women's tennis and I doubt she'll win another Grand Slam title. But that is one of the most remarkable performances in a debut major final you'll see and it was easily the best women's FO final since Capriati/Clijsters. I mean, that's not actually saying much, but still... Let's hope Soderling-Nadal can live up to it. That's at 1400 BST tomorrow. I'll see you then.

Twitter
Roland Garros on Twitter: "At 29 years, 11 months, 14 days, Schiavone is the oldest woman to win a first Grand Slam title since 1969 Wimbledon (and second oldest overall)."

1607: Sam Stosur's voice was cracking as she made her speech, but she needs to shrug off this defeat quickly, because with that game, there's no reason why she shouldn't be a contender at Wimbledon in a couple of weeks. I don't think she played badly today either. She was beaten by just a brilliant, tactically perfect, nerveless performance, perhaps the best of Schiavone's career. Not a bad time to produce it.

1604: Aw. Cute speech from Schiavone, who start off a bit hesitant before getting into her stride and shouting something Italian at her family and friends. "I start to feel comfortable here!" she says, before finishing with: "I love you Daddy, Mummy, ciao."

French Open champion Francesca Schiavone: "I didn't prepare nothing… I want to thank everybody, the people here and in Italy for watching, I felt amazing, I felt really like a champion. I feel really happy, thank you to everybody. Congrats to Sam, she's a great, great person and a great, great athlete. You deserve to be here next time, you are young, you can do it."

Beaten finalist Sam Stosur: "First of all, well done Frank, you played a great tournament. I'd like to thank all my group, thanks for coming and supporting me all the time. Thanks everyone, look forward to next year."

Anne Keothavong on Twitter: "Wow! Congrats to Francesca Schiavone for winning the French Open. Amazing stuff! I feel inspired."

1558: Francesca Schiavone is going to have serious face-ache if she carries on smiling that wide. The 29-year-old is hugging the famous trophy as the Italian national anthem rings out on Chatrier, and her support camp sing along.

1556: Mary Pierce, in a white dress, arrives on court to present the trophy. Sam Stosur manages a faint smile as she collects the runners-up plate. Great tournament for the Aussie, knocking out Serena Williams and Justine Henin - but Francesca Schiavone proved a step too far.

Twitter
From strictlyMUFC on Twitter: "Incredible! I am shedding tears of joy for Schiavone! What a stunning performance against all odds! Totally amazing!"

1552: What a performance. After shaking hands with a despondent Stosur, Schiavone makes her way into the stands to celebrate with her support team. The crowd are on their feet applauding a deserved win - and just a remarkable display by the 29-year-old in her first Grand Slam final.

1549: FRANCESCA SCHIAVONE WINS FRENCH OPEN TITLE

Stosur 4-6 6-7 (2-7) Schiavone
Sizzling forehand winner down the line and Schiavone is pumping her fist with delight. She's played this tie-break to perfection so far. Stunning. And now she's leaping around the court after - yes you guessed it - a magical volley off her toes takes her to four championship points. SHE ONLY NEEDS ONE! The ball pings off Stosur's frame and Schiavone falls on the court in disbelief.

Stosur 4-6 6-6 (2-4) Schiavone
Gruelling rally to open the breaker, Stosur forcing Schiavone wider and wider before drawing the error. They stay on serve until 2-2 when Schiavone gets a lucky break, her miscued return just making it over the net and catching Stosur a bit flatfooted. Sensational point now to consolidate the mini-break, working Stosur around the court before putting away yet another volley. Can a change of ends change Stosur's fortunes?

Stosur 4-6 6-6 Schiavone
Bad start for Stosur as she quickly falls 30-0 down, but then she spanks a magnificent forehand down the line. She's urging herself on at every opportunity - but frustration now as she slaps the net with a passing shot and then swings a forehand wide. Tie-break it is...

Stosur 4-6 6-5* Schiavone
Both players suddenly impregnable on serve. Stosur fizzes a forehand down the line to hold to love and bounces back to her chair, clenching her fist as she goes.

Stosur *4-6 5-5 Schiavone
Schiavone opens up with a placed ace out wide... and then another! Six aces for the Italian, three for Stosur. Remarkable. The third serve goes into the Aussie's body and that's 40-0. Easy peasy.

Stosur 4-6 5-4* Schiavone
Big game for Stosur now... How will her nerve hold up? Not bad. The Aussie gets her serve firing and holds to 15, congratulating herself with a determined "c'mon". Pressure back on Schiavone now.

Stosur *4-6 4-4 Schiavone
Stosur with an opening at 15-30, but wellies a forehand return over the baseline. Schiavone to game point with some more solid net play, and when Stosur flops a drop shot attempt halfway up the net, we're back to all square.

Twitter
BBC 5 live's Jonathan Overend tweeting from Roland Garros: "Can't speak highly enough of this. Best French women's final for almost a decade. Could it top Capriati/Clijsters? Anything's possible."

Stosur 4-6 4-3* Schiavone
Schiavone properly back in the groove, and as Stosur flops a forehand into the net, the Italian has three break-back points. Can Stosur pull off another break escape in this set? Big serve to save the first, but she can't do anything about the second and we're back on serve again. Stosur needs to shrug that game off quickly.

Stosur *4-6 4-2 Schiavone
Schiavone back in the groove, a beautifully-worked point taking her to 40-15, before Stosur's return fails.

Twitter
From AndyCoulthard on Twitter: "If this goes to the third set I can't see Schiavone keeping up with Stosur."

Stosur 4-6 4-1* Schiavone
Stosur's even putting her volleys away now as she rattles through a love service game. I'm loving this match. You?

Stosur *4-6 3-1 Schiavone
Is this the moment? Schiavone makes a rare error off the backhand and it's 30-30. Stosur can't make the return - but now another mistake from Schiavone, smacking a wild forehand into the trams. Stosur takes control of the point from the off, thwacking forehands this way and that before one sails past a sliding Schiavone. It's break point for the Aussie... but she's overcooked a forehand. Schiavone hits the net again though and it's another break point. HUGE backhand onto the baseline, Schiavone can't control it, and Stosur breaks.

Stosur 4-6 2-1* Schiavone
Eventful game. Stosur makes a very difficult smash, but Schiavone thinks the Aussie's previous shot from which she hit the lob was long. Too late to complain now though. Stosur then plays a dreadful volley - plonking it midcourt for Schiavone to dispatch. Fabulous approach now from the Italian, forcing the error and earning two break points. Stosur saves the first with big serve/big forehand combo, before picking up a quick Schiavone return and sending it into the open court. Stosur now with a brave backhand, sliced, short and onto the sideline, leaving Schiavone no chance. Stosur survives and might that be a turning point?

Twitter
From BBC Sport's Piers Newbery tweeting from Roland Garros: "'Boring!"'says one Italian journalist very loudly after another rendition of 'Aussie, Aussie, Aussie...' Schiavone doing them proud so far."

Stosur *4-6 1-1 Schiavone
Oh dear. Stosur tries to skip round a kicking second serve and only ends up framing her return out of court. Schiavone holds to 15 and she's still in control.

Stosur 4-6 1-0* Schiavone
Dancing feet from Stosur as she gets in position to smack a forehand down the line. She's into a 40-15 lead, but now she looks like she's about to hit a drive-volley on the service line. Don't do it, Sam! Oh, she has, and it's miles out. The Aussie survives though and gets a chant of "Aussie Aussie Aussie Oi Oi Oi" as a 'reward'.

Text in your views on 81111
From Somerset via text: "Stosur doesn't seem to be happy when she's favourite... her last three matches, she wasn't favourite and she's been excellent, but she doesn't look happy with pressure. Come on Sam!!"

Stosur *4-6 0-0 Schiavone
Long rally to open the game, and Schiavone blinks first, before slicing a backhand an inch long. It's 0-30 and the pressure's on. Great serve out wide makes it 15-30, and now an instinctive forehand winner. Return into the net and it's set point. Stosur goes on a forehand attack and the third one finally breaches Schiavone's defences. Deuce, but Schiavone again into the net to put away a routine volley. Set point again and this time Stosur's backhand flops into the net. Blimey, that's a bit of a turn-up.

Stosur 4-5* Schiavone
Schiavone mixing up the pace again, and Stosur is tempted to go for too much out wide. Awful volley by Stosur, ballooning it over the baseline. Thought she was a doubles expert?! It's 0-30 now, and Schiavone leaps onto the return, charges into the net and puts away a difficult volley. Sensational stuff. Three break points. Desperate defence by the Italian, but she slices one long. One down for Stosur, and now the Aussie comes in on a very dodgy approach shot - Schiavone's pass clattering the net and dropping agonisingly wide. A let-off for Stosur but she can't take advantage of it - double-faulting on the third break point. Schiavone to serve for the set.

Stosur *4-4 Schiavone
Schiavone goes for a big second serve out wide, but misses and that's the first double of the day. Trouble at 15-30, but she follows it with a third ace - down the middle. Nice. Lovely net approach now, and she's virtually on top of the net as she prods one into the open court. Very impressive by both players here.

Sam Smith on the BBC Red Button: "No woman seeded outside the top 10 has won the French Open title since 1933."

Stosur 4-3* Schiavone
Schiavone's scrambling pays off on the first point, Stosur belting a smash over the baseline, but the Aussie puts that shocker behind her to reel off three points in a row. Schiavone then cleverly draws Stosur in and flicks the pass crosscourt, but then sees a forehand comes flying past her and they're back to the chairs.

Stosur *3-3 Schiavone
The camera pans to a young couple in the posh seats. They might be famous. I don't know. Anyway, I don't like to speak to soon, but this match is quite decent so far. Interesting to watch how Schiavone tries to outsmart and outmanoeuvre her more powerful opponent. At deuce, the Italian plays the most magnificent half-volley to get to game point before levelling the set.

Stosur 3-2* Schiavone
Schiavone the first to threaten. A deep backhand return forces the error and she has 0-30. Stosur eases the nerves with a wrong-footing backhand down the line and then an ace. The seventh seed wastes a game point, but comes through from deuce, finishing with a trademark booming forehand. Stosur's semi-final victim Jelena Jankovic got a lot of headlines for saying the Aussie played like a man - but she meant it as a compliment. "When I look at how the men play, she has kind of a similar game," said Jankovic. "She has a very good kick serve, which not many women have. It has a very heavy spin. And then she runs around the forehand."

Stosur *2-2 Schiavone
Neither player getting much going on return. Only two points against the serve so far as Schiavone holds to love.

Stosur 2-1* Schiavone
Wow, Stosur's serve really is a monster - and it's only going to be more scary in these hot conditions. The Aussie fires down several bombs on her way to a second love service game.

Stosur *1-1 Schiavone
Fellow Aussie Todd Woodbridge is in no doubt that Stosur will win this match, "barring a catastrophic case of nerves or a match-ending injury". Stosur rocks Schiavone with one huge forehand, but the Italian eases into a 40-15 lead before closing it out to 30.

Stosur 1-0* Schiavone
Super confident start for Stosur, holding to love in the opening game.
* denotes next to serve

1411: Capriati-Clijsters is one of my all-time favourite women's matches... If this match is half as good as that one, I'll be happy. Stosur to serve first.

From mbb2009 on Twitter: "Hope it goes to three sets. Last three-set French final was the brilliant Capriati v Clijsters match way back in 2001."

1406: Apologies to all the male Italian Grand Slam singles winners reading, Francesca Schiavone will become the first Italian woman to win a major singles title. Onwards: this match is a repeat of a first-round encounter last year, which Stosur won 6-4 6-2. A year later, they meet again in the final - neato. The Aussie has won all four of their matches since Stosur won their first meeting in 2005.

Twitter
From stephsiu on Twitter: "I'd rather watch today's final then a Williams sister and a Russian as per usual."

1401: Here come the players down the tunnel and up to our French TV interviewer. Francesca Schiavone is all smiles as she says: "I'm happy to be here. Now I've got to enjoy. Anything can happen. We are two great persons and great tennis players…" A brief word from Sam Stosur: "It's the first time for both of us, I'm just looking forward to getting out there."

The sun is out
1358: It's another baking day in Paris where a bunch of Francesca Schiavone fans are sporting T-shirts bearing the message 'Schiavone - Nothing Is Impossible'. They're black T-shirts though, which is far from sensible in these temperatures.

1357: Both Sam Stosur and Francesca Schiavone would be fairytale winners. Stosur, whose career was threatened by Lyme disease just three years ago, would be the first Australian woman to win a Grand Slam singles title for 30 years. Schiavone will be Italy's first ever major singles winner and at 29, she'd be the second oldest first-time winner in the open era.

1352: Well, I can't pretend to know what Suzanne Lenglen would have made of it all, although I obviously share her diva qualities, but I refuse to write off this final until I've actually watched it. Or at least a set of it. And after it's over, we'll have a new Grand Slam champion to crown, which is never dull. Come on, stay positive, people.

1345: Bonjour. When I walked in this morning, my colleague presented me with a newspaper headline, which asks: Is this the worst grand slam final ever? "Today," writes the Daily Telegraph's Mark Hodgkinson, "Paris is being asked to care about Stosur and Schiavone, to make some emotional investment in the Australian and the Italian... You have to wonder what Suzanne Lenglen, the original tennis diva and celebrity, would make of it all."




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see also
Schiavone wins French Open title
05 Jun 10 |  Tennis
French Open day 14 photos
05 Jun 10 |  Tennis
Nadal to meet Soderling in final
04 Jun 10 |  Tennis
Soderling beats Berdych in semis
04 Jun 10 |  Tennis
Dementieva quits French Open semi
03 Jun 10 |  Tennis
Stosur reaches French Open final
03 Jun 10 |  Tennis
Grand Slam women's singles latest
21 May 10 |  Tennis
Order of play
23 May 09 |  Tennis


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