Paris: Serena Williams plays Lucie Safarova in the French Open final on Saturday and the odds, on paper and also by the statistics, are hugely in the American’s favour.
Serena Williams and Lucie Safarova
Only the top seed’s fragile state of health, it seems, stands in the way of what would be a 20th Grand Slam title — just two shy of the Open-era record of 22 set by Steffi Graf.
A new title to add to her collection would also take her halfway to winning all four Grand Slam titles in the same year — a feat only previously achieved by four women in the history of the sport, the last being Graf in 1988.
In contrast, Safarova, at 28, five years younger than her opponent, will be playing in her first Grand Slam final after 12 years as a pro, mostly spent in the shadows.
Her head-to-head record against Williams is a dismal 0-8 and prior to this year she had never made it past the last 16 at Roland Garros in 10 previous campaigns. To add weight to the challenge ahead of her, only twice in the history of the French Open has a player ranked outside the top 10 seeds won the title — once in 1933 and more recently in 2010 when Francesca Schiavone triumphed. The Italian though grabbed her moment of glory against Australian Stosur on that occasion, the mighty Williams is an alltogether different prospect.
Except for the fact that Williams is not well physically. She has struggled from the start of the tournament and things got worse when she came down with the flu after her third-round win over Victoria Azarenka.
Safarova said that she has nothing to lose against Williams in what will be the biggest match of her career. Talking before the Williams match ended she said: “I mean Serena is number one in the world, great player. So whoever will be there, I will just go there and play my game and obviously try and get the trophy.”