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"I was behind pretty much the whole match": Stosur

Tennis

Samantha Stosur was nervous.

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Stosur didn’t say as much after losing 6-4 7-6 (8-6) to qualifier Kristyna Pliskova in the first round of the Australian Open.

But Czech conqueror Pliskova was happy to highlight the jitters of the top-ranked local hope in the women’s draw of the Open.

“She was nervous, definitely,” Pliskova said after her Rod Laver Arena rollick.

“I don’t think she’s in the best form right now. It’s first time for her at home [grand slam in 2016]. Big court.

“She was a little nervous and it’s always tough to play someone who looks like they’re injured. I think it was tough for her.”

Pliskova hurt her hamstring in the match but Stosur was unable to capitalise on the world No.114’s setback.

It extended Stosur’s miserable record at Melbourne Park.

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 last night’s evidence, when Stosur fought for one hour and 43 minutes but couldn’t push the match to a third set.

“I’m not happy about it. That’s for sure. Yeah, unfortunately it’s another year done,” Stosur said.

“I’d obviously like to do better here at the Open.

“I didn’t play bad. I played a decent match … had a couple of opportunities and didn’t take them.

“A straight-sets loss, you don’t know exactly what that was by reading a scoreboard.

“I did everything I thought as best as I could tonight, gave it everything and unfortunately came up short.”

Not since 2012 has Stosur exited the Melbourne tournament without winning a set.

“I was behind pretty much the whole match,” she admitted.

Stosur was seeded 25th and fully expected to account for Pliskova, who has played second fiddle to twin sister and world No.12 Karolina throughout her time on the WTA circuit.

“It was the biggest match of my career,” Pliskova said.

Stosur hopes such defeats won’t be what she is remembered by, whenever she decides to retire.

“I’ve had a really good career. I’ve achieved a lot of things,” the Queenslander said.

“Winning a grand slam was my dream from when I was eight or nine years old and I’ve been able to do that. There’s been a lot of good in my career.”

Stosur will contest doubles at Melbourne Park before travelling to Slovakia for a Fed Cup assignment in February.

Pliskova, whose powerful serve was likened to that of Petra Kvitova by Stosur, hoped to push through the pain barrier against Monica Puig in the second round.

“If I’m ready to play and I’m healthy, I hope I can get some more wins,” she said.

STOSUR’S STRUGGLES AT MELBOURNE PARK

1st round exit: 2016, 2012, 2005, 2002

2nd round exit: 2015, 2013, 2007, 2004

3rd round exit: 2014, 2011, 2009, 2003

4th round exit: 2010, 2006.

-AAP

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