Paris: Australian experience and guile takes on Spanish youth and power at the French Open on Friday when Samantha Stosur plays Garbine Muguruza in the first of the semi-finals.
Stosur at 32 is a veteran of 15 years on the WTA circuit who won the 2011 US Open and finished runner-up at Roland Garros the previous year.
Her game revolves around a big, swinging serve, plenty of top spin, changes of rhythm and her years of experience.
Muguruzu is 10 years younger and her biggest achievement to date was reaching last year’s Wimbledon final where she lost to Serena Williams.
The Venezuelan-born Spaniard is in the modern mould of tall women players reliant on power-hitting from the baseline.
That throws up an intriguing clash of contrasts that draws fourth-seeded Muguruza into the unchartered territory of a Roland Garros semi-final.
“I don’t think I have played against her. Maybe. Maybe. I know that she reached the final at the French Open,” she said after her quarter-final win. .
As it turns out they have played, just the once, on clay at Madrid in 2014 when Stosur won in three sets.
“She plays well. It will be a tough match. In a semi-final match, all matches are tough. Lots of players are under stress and they want to reach the final, so I will focus on my tennis and I will give my best,” Muguruza said.
Stosur for her part said that she recognised Muguruza as one of the top, rising stars on the WTA circuit.
“She’s three or four in the world at the moment. She’s had a great couple of years. She has had some good wins this week obviously to be this far,” she said.
“She hits the ball hard and flat and she’s very aggressive. I’m expecting a tough one.
“I will have to play well, and if I’m not playing my best I will have to find a way and do something that’s going to hopefully put me in a position to do well.”
Due to the bad weather conditions that have dogged Roland Garros this week, both players will at least have an advantage over who comes through in the other half of the draw, as they were able to finish their quarter-final matches on Wednesday.
Defending champion Serena Williams only completed her fourth round that same day and she takes on unseeded Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan in the quarter-finals on Thursday.
That means that if she reaches the final she will have played four days straight.
Thursday’s other quarter-final sees eighth see Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland go up against unseeded Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens.