Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Francesca Schiavone

Francesca Schiavone (born 23 June 1980 in Milan) is an Italian tennis player who turned professional in 1998. She won the 2010 French Open singles title, becoming the first Italian woman to win a Grand Slam event in singles. Her career high ranking is World No. 4, achieved on January 31, 2011. She is currently ranked World No. 5.Schiavone employs an all court game and has a very classic approach to her clay game. She uses an extreme eastern grip (same as semi-western forehand grip) on her one handed backhand much like Justine Henin and also has a strong forehand. While commentating on her epic match against Svetlana Kuznetsova in the fourth round of the 2011 Australian Open for ESPN2, both Chris Fowler and Brad Gilbert described her forehand as a "buggy whip."Schiavone has won four singles titles on the WTA tour, but has also achieved ten runner-ups in total, eight of them since the autumn of 2005. Schiavone lost her first eight career finals before finally winning her first title in July 2007. She and her Italian teammates Mara Santangelo, Flavia Pennetta, and Roberta Vinci beat the Belgium team 3–2 in the 2006 Fed Cup final. Justine Henin had to retire in the fifth and final match due to an injury in her right knee, which let Italy win their first Fed Cup trophy. This match was a doubles match and Kirsten Flipkens partnered Henin and Roberta Vinci partnered Schiavone. In 2009 she won the Fed Cup with Italy for the second time against the USA, and also made the quarterfinals of Wimbledon for the first time. In 2010 Italy with Schiavone won the Fed Cup for the third time. In addition, she realized a notable victory during the quarterfinals of the 2008 Dubai Duty Free Women's Open, when she upset World No. 1 and four-time champion Henin 7–6, 7–6. She also beat Amélie Mauresmo in a Fed Cup tie in 2006 when Mauresmo was ranked No. 1. Partnering with Australian Casey Dellacqua, Schiavone was the runner-up in the women's doubles competition at the 2008 French Open.

At the Australian Open Francesca defeated Frenchwomen Alizé Cornet 0–6, 7–5, 6–0. and Julie Coin 6–3, 6–4 first before upseting No. 10 seed Agnieszka Radwańska 6–2, 6–2. Though she matched her best results there (4R), she went on to lose to No. 6 seed Venus Williams after winning the first set 3–6, 6–2, 6–1. She beat Alberta Brianti, Tathiana Garbin, Carla Suárez Navarro, Yaroslava Shvedova, and Roberta Vinci all in straight sets to win her 3rd WTA title at the Barcelona Ladies Open. Seeded 17th entering the 2010 French Open, Schiavone was lightly regarded as a contender for the championship. She defeated Regina Kulikova, Sophie Ferguson, 11th seed Li Na, and 30th seed Maria Kirilenko to reach her first French Open quarterfinal since 2001 (where she had lost to Martina Hingis). In the quarterfinals, she defeated world #3 Caroline Wozniacki in straight sets to become the first Italian woman to reach the semifinals of a Grand Slam singles event. The semifinals of the French Open consisted of four players (Jelena Janković, Elena Dementieva, Samantha Stosur and Schiavone) who had never won a Grand Slam singles event; nevertheless, most in the tennis community, including ESPN's tennis commentary team of Mary Jo Fernandez, Patrick McEnroe and Brad Gilbert singled out Schiavone as the one player who was not a serious contender to win the title. In the semifinals, Schiavone defeated world #5 Dementieva after Dementieva retired in the second set with a torn calf muscle having lost the first set in a tiebreaker; the victory made Schiavone the first Italian woman to reach a Grand Slam final, and assured that she would become a top-ten player for the first time following the tournament.

In the final, Schiavone faced Stosur in a rematch of their first-round meeting at the 2009 French Open which Stosur had won easily (6–4, 6–2). Because of this previous result, and Stosur's victories over four-time French Open champion Justine Henin, world #1 Serena Williams and world #4 Janković en route to the final, Stosur was considered a heavy favorite to defeat Schiavone. However, on 5 June 2010, Schiavone defied expectations to become the first Italian woman to win a Grand Slam singles title, defeating Stosur 6–4, 7–6(2). The victory made her only the third Italian player to win a Grand Slam event in singles, after Nicola Pietrangeli and Adriano Panatta. The victory also meant she rose to number 6 in the World Rankings on 7 June 2010 and became the highest ranked Italian woman ever after Flavia Pennetta reached world No. 10 in 2009. Schiavone's next event after the French Open was Eastbourne, where she lost in the first-round to Sorana Cîrstea 5-7, 3-6. Schiavone was the 5th seed at Wimbledon, due to the pre-tournament withdrawal of Dementieva, however she lost to Vera Dushevina in the first round 7-6, 5-7, 1-6. Schiavone reached the quarterfinals of the 2010 Rogers Cup, where she fell to top seed Caroline Wozniacki. Schiavone was the 6th seed at the US Open. She defeated Ayumi Morita, Maria Elena Camerin, 29th seed Alona Bondarenko, and 20th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova to advance to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2003 (where she had lost to Jennifer Capriati). In the quarterfinals, she fell to seven-time Grand Slam singles champion #3 seed Venus Williams 7-6(5), 6-4.

As the 5th seed, Schiavone reached the semifinals of the 2010 Toray Pan Pacific Open, where she fell to 7th seed Elena Dementieva. At the season-ending WTA Tour Championships, Schiavone competed for the first time in her career but was eliminated in the round robin stage. Schiavone fell to Caroline Wozniacki in three sets, Samantha Stosur in two sets and before defeating Elena Dementieva in what would be Dementieva's final career match. Schiavone began the year at the 2011 Hopman Cup representing Italy. In singles, Schiavone defeated Great Britain's Laura Robson, but fell to American Bethanie Mattek-Sands. Schiavone retired with an injury against Kristina Mladenovic. Seeded 6th at the 2011 Australian Open, Schiavone advanced to the quarterfinals for the first time in her career upon a memorable victory over 23rd seeded and two-time grand slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova. The 4th round encounter lasted nearly five hours (4:44; 47 games in total), and Schiavone saved six match points before finally prevailing 6–4, 1–6, 16–14. With this win, Schiavone will rise in the rankings to World No. 4 after the tournament, the highest ranking ever achieved by an Italian woman, improving her own record. Unfortunately, her good fortune did not last in the quarterfinal against World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki, in a rematch of their 2010 French Open quarterfinal, which Schiavone won en route to the title. Although Schiavone was a set and 3-1 up in the second set, she was broken twice by Wozniacki in the same set and twice in the third, to lose 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 despite fighting her way out of three match points.

Francesca Schiavone kissed her trophy

Francesca Schiavone expression when she won the match

Francesca Schiavone has strong body

Francesca Schiavone smile

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