Jelena Jankovic was blasted off court by Samantha Stosur yesterday 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 tomorrow'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 (pictured) 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.”
Jankovic's comments on Stosur were not dissimilar to those made by Caroline Wozniacki about Schiavone after 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. The latter did not quite manage to reproduce that all-action display in yesterday's curtailed semi-final against Dementieva, in which she had just claimed the first set 7-6 (7/3) when her opponent quit. The fifth seed was unable to continue due to a torn calf.