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Stosur defiant after another Open flop

Tennis

Samantha Stosur was unable to disguise her anguish after suffering yet another Australian Open flop in Melbourne.

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“You get a bit sick of this feeling,” Stosur said after being consigned to the most miserable summer of her otherwise decorated 15-year career.

Britain’s Heather Watson sent the out-of-sorts Australian No.1 packing with a rollercoaster 6-2 3-6 6-0 first-round victory on Tuesday.

The defeat was Stosur’s ninth in a row and followed round-one exits in Brisbane and Sydney, leaving the fallen grand slam champion winless over an Australian summer for the first time since her Melbourne Park debut as a teenager back in 2002.

The deflating defeat also leaves Stosur in danger of relinquishing her Australian No.1 ranking for the first time in eight years.

But, despite turning 33 in March, the world No.21 has no plans to throw in the towel.

“I still feel like I’ve got good tennis in me,” the one-time world No.4 defiantly said.

“I don’t feel like it was all bad today or it was a big disaster.

“I know there’s obviously things I need to improve. I need to do it quickly, work out a few things [but] I do feel like it’s still possible for me.”

Stosur made a confident enough start.

The veteran showed great speed and touch to mow down a crosscourt drop and flick a backhand lob winner over Watson’s head on the way to breaking Watson Brit in the second game.

But she lost six of the next seven games in an all-too-familiar collapse to drop the first set in the blink of an eye.

Stosur again broke Watson early in the second to go 2-0 up before surviving a marathon seventh game in which she saved a series of break points to surge to 5-2.

The hold proved pivotal as she closed out the second set with a signature one-two punch, pounding a serve wide and delivering an off-forehand winner to draw back on level terms.

Alas for Stosur, she lost a series of epic games in the deciding set to bow out after two-and-a-quarter hours.

“It’s one of those things. You’re disappointed, you’re upset, angry, what could I have done?” Stosur said.

Stosur’s best runs at her home slam remain fourth-round showings in 2006 and 2010, while she’s now won just four matches in Melbourne in the past six years.

But after rebounding from a first-round defeat last year to make the French Open semi-finals for a fourth time, the Queenslander is adamant she can do so again.

“I’ve done it before. I’ve done it many times before,” Stosur said.

“That’s kind of the outlook I have to take.

“I mean, that’s certainly one that’s going to make me feel better rather than going home and sulking for the next six months.”

Stosur led a day-two Australian exodus at Melbourne Park, with seven of the ten Aussies on court yesterday bowing out.

She joined qualifiers Alex Bolt and Blake Mott and wildcards Omar Jasika, Chris O’Connell, Lizette Cabrera and Arina Rodionova as day-two losers.

But Daria Gavrilova got some revenge defeating another Brit, Naomi Broady, 3-6 6-4 7-5, while Andrew Whittington downed Czech Adam Pavlasek 6-4 4-6 6-2 6-3 and Jordan Thompson outgunned Joao Sousa of Portugal 6-7 (2-7) 4-6 6-3 6-2 6-1.

-AAP

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