Stosur hopes home is sweet
If there is one thing that the 2011 US Open champion and 2010 French Open runner-up would love more than anything, it is success at her home tournament.
Samantha Stosur has more than proven herself at the Grand Slam tournament level.
If there is one thing that the 2011 US Open champion and 2010 French Open runner-up would love more than anything, it is success at her home tournament, with two fourth-round appearances her best results.
The purpose in the way the 30-year-old right-hander speaks, and the determined look in her steely blue-eyed gaze give the distinct impression that there is some unfinished business to be attended to in 2015.
“I know what I want to achieve, I know what I want to do here,” Stosur said on Saturday.
Despite a first-round exit in Brisbane, followed by a second-round departure in Sydney, the Queenslander says she is happy with the way things are progressing.
She was particularly buoyant about her first-round win in Sydney over Czech Lucie Safarova, which was her first in the last eight matches between the pair.
“There’s a lot of things I can draw from it.
“I’d like to have more matches like that. To get over the line against Lucie after losing to her the last seven times, to serve out the match the way I did, play the way I did, fight the way I did, I’m really pleased with that.
“I guess it’s trying to do those types of matches more and more often.”
Opinions are divided on why Stosur is yet to reach the heady heights in Australia that she has abroad. One popular notion is the pressure of having to carry the hopes of a nation has, on many occasions, proved too much.
The 20th seed says it is something that she is constantly trying to change.
“I don’t think that’s necessarily because of the spotlight being on me in the past,” she said.
“I think there’s numerous reasons why maybe I haven’t played my best tennis here in Australia so far. Obviously every year I’m trying to make that better.”
Stosur will meet world No.46 Monica Niculescu in the first round, a player that she considers a tricky opponent.
The Romanian’s penchant for an almost cheeky style of play, which features a lot of spin and working of the ball, is one that Stosur says commands intense concentration.
“There’s probably no one else like Monica in a lot of ways,” Stosur said.
“I think it’s going to be a lot about concentrating hard and knowing that it’s going to be some funky stuff going on out there, and what I’m going to try to do to combat that.
“She likes to slice the ball a lot, slice the forehand even. She’ll serve and volley a little bit; she’ll come into the net. She’s very fast, moves well.
“She’s very creative and more crafty than maybe most of the other players out there. It’s certainly something that I need to know, certain balls are going to come back a lot differently to playing anyone that I’ve played so far this year.”
Stosur’s preparation for her opening match is something she says will be vital.
“Tomorrow I’m going to practice with my coach. He’s going to try and do a few things maybe the same way (as Niculescu). I think it’s getting used to hitting more slice balls, some slower-paced balls, that kind of stuff. I’d like to try and practice as similar to that as possible at the moment.”
Stosur is injury-free for her tilt at the first major of 2015, and hoping that she can stay that way.
“I haven’t had any problems when I’ve been on court,” she said.
“I can do everything on court, not hesitate about my movement or anything like that. So far, so good.”
It may be an unlucky number for some, but in her 13th appearance in the main draw of Australian Open, 2015 could be Stosur’s best yet.