Sam Stosur’s preparation for the Australian Open took a surprising downwards turn when the nation’s number highest ranked singles player suffered a straight sets loss in the opening round of the Sydney International.
Stosur, the world’s No. 6 ranked player, lost to world No. 11, Francesca Shiavone, 6-2 6-4 in 88 minutes.
The Australian Open begins on January 16 and Stosur admitted to feeling mentally defeated in the loss.
“The whole emotional side of things really took over today. It never felt like I was able to be loose and free with the way I wanted to play,” she said.
Stosur and Shiavone met at the 2010 French Open final in which the Italian won her first ever grand slam tournament.
An early exit from the Brisbane International a week before, Stosur’s preparation for the Australian Open has been far from ideal and she will no doubt be hoping to turn things around when the tournament gets underway next Monday.
Meanwhile, world No. 97, Matthew Ebden took a three set victory over Marcel Granollers to advance to the second round of the Sydney International.
World No. 28 from Spain, Granollers didn’t offer much resistance in the first set going down 6-1, but was far more competitive in the second, winning 3-6.
At 2-1 in the third set, the Australian had two break points in hand but an error caused him to drop the first and Granollers took the second with an ace off a serve. Ebden went to lead 5-3 before completing his only match point to take the upset victory.
An early exit in last week’s Brisbane International is now a thing of the past and Ebden will face either Russian Dmitry Tursunov (No. 41) or Marcos Baghdatis (No. 43) in the next round.
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