Australian hopes dashed at Melbourne Summer Set
Sam Stosur, Astra Sharma and Ellen Perez have all lost their opening-round singles matches at this week's Melbourne Summer Set.
It has been a tough day for Australian hopes at the Melbourne Summer Set, with Sam Stosur, Astra Sharma and Ellen Perez all crashing out of the women’s singles draw.
Stosur was left ruing missed opportunities following her first-round showdown with Chinese qualifier Zhu Lin at Rod Laver Arena.
The 37-year-old Australian earned a set point on Zhu’s serve at 5-4 in a tightly-contested opening set. However, world No.114 Zhu fought back to clinch it in a tiebreak.
Stosur then built a 4-2 lead in the second set, showing glimpses of the brilliance that helped her win the US Open 2011 title and climb as high as No.4 in the world rankings.
But serving at 5-4 to level the match at one-set apiece, Stosur was broken. A deft drop shot from the 27-year-old Zhu secured the important break.
It proved a significant momentum changer, with Zhu winning the next five points to wrest back control.
Stosur refused to give in, pushing the second set into a tiebreak. Yet again, Zhu had her measure and secured a 7-6(5) 7-6(5) victory after two hours on court.
“I thought I played pretty well,” Stosur conceded. “I obviously had a set point in the first set, served for the second set, so can’t get much closer than that.”
Sharma had her chances too in a three-set loss against world No.88 Rebecca Peterson at Melbourne Park’s Court 5.
After losing the opening set, the world No.98-ranked Australian stormed back to claim the second and snare an early break in the deciding set.
However, world No.88 Peterson ultimately proved too consistent. The 26-year-old Swede won six of the final seven games to post a 6-1 3-6 6-2 victory after a two-hour battle.
Earlier in the day, world No.66 Nuria Parrizas Diaz made a blistering start against Perez in their first-round encounter.
The 30-year-old Spaniard took the opening set 6-0, conceding just eight points to the Aussie wildcard.
Perez, a 26-year-old ranked No.196, put up a bigger fight in the second set – but it wasn’t enough to stop Parrizas Diaz from recording a 6-0 6-3 win.
In doubles competition, Arina Rodionova and Dutch partner Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove advanced to the quarterfinals with a 6-2 6-4 win against Poland’s Katarzyna Piter and Czech Renata Voracova.
Melbourne Summer Set WTA 250 #2
Women’s singles, first round
Nuria Parrizas Diaz (ESP) d [WC] Ellen Perez (AUS) 6-0 6-3
Rebecca Peterson (SWE) d [WC] Astra Sharma (AUS) 6-1 3-6 6-2
[Q] Zhu Lin (CHN) d [WC] Sam Stosur (AUS) 7-6(5) 7-6(5)
Women’s doubles, first round
Arina Rodionova (AUS)/Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove (NED) d Katarzyna Piter (POL)/Renata Voracova (CZE) 6-2 6-4
Aliona Bolsova (ESP)/Katarzyna Kawa (POL) d [WC] Alexandra Osborne (AUS)/Taylah Preston (AUS) 6-2 6-2
Women’s doubles, first round
Astra Sharma (AUS)/Viktorija Golubic (SUI) v Irina Bara (ROU)/Ekaterine Gorgodze (GEO)
Women’s doubles, quarterfinals
 Sam Stosur (AUS)/Zhang Shuai (CHN) v Monique Adamczak (AUS)/Han Xinyun (CHN)
Arina Rodionova (AUS)/Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove (NED) v  Bernarda Pera (USA)/Katerina Siniakova (CZE)
Melbourne Summer Set tickets are on sale, with prices beginning at $19. Kids can attend for free.