Zhuhai in Stosur’s sights
Sam Stosur is hoping to finish her year strongly with a good Asian swing, an outcome which could see her debut at the WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai.
A strong push through the Asian swing is Sam Stosur’s goal as she targets qualification for the season-ending WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai, China.
The event, open to players ranked between No.9 and No.20 who narrowly miss qualification for the WTA Finals in Singapore, debuted last year with Venus Williams the inaugural champion.
Stosur is currently ranked 18th.
She will play events in Wuhan, Beijing and Hong Kong to close out her 2016 season and hopes her performances ensure her place in the 12-player Zhuhai field.
“My first trips were in Asia. I like Asian food and everything else. Some things in China can be challenging, but they try really hard. They are very big tournaments,” Stosur said.
“Beijing is really established now; as long as the pollution is not too bad, it’s a good one. Wuhan is a bit of a trek out to the courts each day. The centre is brand new, it’s a really good tournament.
“If you can not think about it being the end of the year, and (that there’s) only a few weeks to go, if you can push through it then you can do well.
“Everyone is starting to get a little bit tired, so you have an opportunity to be better.”
Stosur was in with a shot to qualify for the eight-player WTA Finals field; she was No.9 in the Road to Singapore after reaching the semis at Roland Garros but has since slipped to 16th after going 7-7 in her next seven tournaments.
Although she’s technically still alive in the race to qualify for Singapore, she’s almost 1000 points behind the eighth-placed Carla Suarez Navarro.
And the path ahead in Asia is a challenging one.
She opens her Wuhan campaign in the first-round against the resurgent Caroline Wozniacki, who arrives in Wuhan fresh off her Tokyo Pan Pacific title, a result which followed on from her trip to the semifinals at Flushing Meadows.
Ranked No.74 ahead of the US Open, Wozniacki is almost back in the top 20 after winning 10 of her past 11 matches.
“I’d like to finish as high as I can, top 16 by the end of the year and set myself up for a good seeding at the Aussie Open,” Stosur said of her goals heading into Asia.
“Finish higher than what I have the last few years. I’ve got to stay top 20 for that, and top 16 would be the goal.”
Stosur continues to experiment with coaches. After parting ways with David Taylor following the French Open, she worked with Andrew Roberts during the grasscourt season and Josh Eagle for the Olympics and US summer.
In Asia, she’ll be accompanied by Rennae Stubbs, the Aussie former No.1 doubles player with whom Stosur reached the Wimbledon final in 2009.
It will be her fourth coach in four months.
“She always has good information, and has always been a big supporter and good friend of mine,” Stosur said of Stubbs.
“It’s nice to be able to bounce ideas off and have direction from someone.”
Stosur will face Wozniacki in the first night match of Monday night’s Centre Court session in Wuhan.