Samantha Stosur’s Australian Open malaise continues with straight sets loss
Samantha Stosur’s Melbourne Park malaise remains as debilitating as ever, with the veteran jolted from the Australian Open in straight sets.
Stosur added another chapter to her miserable record at home on Monday night, losing 6-4 7-6 (8-6) to Czech qualifier Kristyna Pliskova.
Fourth-round finishes in 2006 and 2010 remain Stosur’s best results in her home grand slam.
At age 31 that is unlikely to change for the 2011 US Open champion. Certainly on Monday night’s evidence, when Stosur fought for one hour and 43 minutes but could not push the match to a third set.
Not since 2012 has Stosur exited the Melbourne tournament without winning a set.
Stosur was seeded 25th and fully expected to account for Pliskova. Pliskova is ranked No114 in the world and has played second fiddle to twin sister and world No12 Karolina throughout her time on the WTA circuit.
“It was the biggest match of my career,” Pliskova, who was troubled by a leg injury in the contest, said.
Stosur started her 14th Australian Open as the top-ranked local hope in the women’s draw, as has been the case so many times.
Unfortunately for the Queenslander it was not the only repetitive element of her campaign. Stosur broke back twice in the second set, most notably when Pliskova was serving for the match at 5-4.
The comeback continued. Stosur had two set points but failed to convert either, with Pliskova holding serve to push the set to a tiebreaker.
Pliskova took control of the contest thanks to her powerful serve and fittingly it was the 23-year-old’s 10th ace that finished the match.
Pliskova smacked Stosur in the face with her serve and sent down two aces in the tiebreak.
Australian tennis great Todd Woodbridge says he is unsure how much longer Samantha Stosur will continue her career after her disappointing first-round exit from the Australian Open.
“I’m not sure how much longer she could play with that level because that would become frustrating when you’ve played at higher levels than what we saw,” Woodbridge said on Tuesday.
“I thought last night was a real disappointment. She didn’t play anywhere near to the level she is capable of.”
Woodbridge said in previous years the pressure and expectation of her home grand slam may have weighed on Stosur, but Monday night’s performance suggested bigger problems with her game.
“I thought this summer – I called every one of her matches in Brisbane, Sydney and last night – she just has not been hitting the ball very well,” Woodbridge said. “She’s not playing as solid tennis as she was previously.
“She’s [almost] 32 years of age and I wonder whether that now if her best tennis could be past her – that’s quite a possibility.”