Jelena Jankovic was blasted off court by Samantha Stosur today before claiming her opponent had played like a man.
It was meant as a compliment from the Serb, who was demolished 6-1 6-2 in an hour by the muscular Australian in this afternoon’s French Open semi-finals.
Stosur followed up her victories over modern greats Justine Henin and Serena Williams with her best performance of the tournament, completely overwhelming former world number one Jankovic.
She will now play Francesca Schiavone in what will be both women’s maiden grand slam finals, with the latter gifted her place in Saturday’s showpiece after Elena Dementieva became the first woman ever to retire so late in the tournament.
Jankovic said of Stosur after her defeat on Philippe Chatrier Court: “She kind of has almost the game of a man.
“When I look at how the men play, she has kind of a similar game.
“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.”
Jankovic added of the seventh seed: “She’s a strong girl. You can see by looking at her physically.
“She can hit pretty big, and she has one of the strongest serves in the women’s game.”
A delighted Stosur revealed the secrets behind her two biggest weapons.
“I was 12 or 13 when my coach at the time showed me the serve,” she said of a technique that is almost exclusive to the men’s game.
“I picked it up pretty much straight away and all through my juniors up until now, it has been a strength of mine.”
She added: “It is maybe a little bit different for players to come out playing against me because of those two shots: serve and a forehand.
“Maybe I’m a bit of the rarity out there.”
Of her impressive physique, she said: “My fitness and strength is something I’ve been working on for probably a good five years – very seriously.”
The 26-year-old added of her performance today: “I probably couldn’t have asked to play a much better match today in the semi-finals.
“To do that today and now be in my first final is just incredible.”
Jankovic’s comments on Stosur were not dissimilar to those made by Caroline Wozniacki about Schiavone following her quarter-final defeat to the Italian, with the Dane claiming her opponent had not played “typical women’s tennis”.
But Wozniacki was referring to the variety rather than the power of Schiavone’s game, which stands out from the conveyor belt of identikit baseline tactics.
The latter did not quite manage to reproduce that all-action display in today’s curtailed semi-final against Dementieva, in which she had just claimed the first set 7-6 (7/3) when her opponent quit.
The tearful fifth seed was unable to continue due to a torn calf suffered in her second-round win over Anabel Medina Garrigues.
“It’s very painful to even walk,” said the Russian, who revealed she had also come close to quitting during her third-round victory over Aleksandra Wozniak.
“Today was just a sharp pain.
“It was a bit too much.”
Dementieva, who also had treatment during her quarter-final win over Nadia Petrova, still managed to survive nine minutes longer on court than Jankovic.
Schiavone, who is the first Italian woman ever to reach a grand slam final, said: “I didn’t know she was pulling out.
“I knew that she was injured somehow but I didn’t ask because the most important thing was to keep going with my play.”
Dementieva will withdraw from the Aegon International in Eastbourne because of the injury, adding she was “not sure” whether she would be fit for Wimbledon.
Despite the manner of her victory, Schiavone once again celebrated by sinking to her knees and kissing the clay.
Asked how it tasted, she said: “It was good. So good.”