Francesca Schiavone of Italy returns the ball to Alona Bondarenko of Ukraine at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, Friday, Sept. 3, 2010. Schiavone won the match 6-1, 7-5.
Roger Federer isn't the only one who can hit a back-to-the-net, between-the-legs shot.
During a 6-1, 7-5 victory over 29th-seeded Alona Bondarenko in the third round at Flushing Meadows in Queens on Friday, French Open champion Schiavone produced a near-replica of the shot Federer hit against Novak Djokovic in the 2009 semifinals and again against Brian Dabul in this year's first round Monday.
Schiavone called it "instinct" and "art."
Bondarenko hit a lob, and Schiavone turned her back to the court, sprinted to the baseline, and smacked the ball through her legs. Unlike Federer's, it wasn't a clean winner, though: Bondarenko reached the ball and volleyed it back. But Schiavone ran forward for a forehand winner, then skipped across the court, pumping a fist.
"I'd like to see it again," Schiavone said later. "I'm curious."
Well, she's in luck: Like Federer's shot, Schiavone's quickly found its way onto YouTube.
Asked to compare the two, Schiavone said: "I hit it hard and well. Not like Roger, but well."
The point helped the sixth-seeded Schiavone reach the round of 16 at the U.S. Open for the fifth time.