Canberra Times

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Same old story for Stosur as she's bundled out on grass

Samantha Stosur will turn from Olympic athlete to spectator this week after being bundled out of both the singles and doubles draws on a forgettable first day for Australia's women at Wimbledon.

"Zero from three, it's a bit of a disaster, isn't it? It wasn't a very good day," Stosur said and it was a conclusion that summed it up.

Not only was the world No.5 eliminated — losing a cliffhanger, 3-6 7-6 10-8, to Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro — but the two women's doubles team in green and gold were also defeated in straight series, leaving Australia's tennis hopes down to only Lleyton Hewitt and Bernard Tomic in men's singles.

Spain translated to pain for Stosur on Saturday as she and Casey Dellacqua were also thrashed 6-1 6-1 by Nuria Llagostera Vives and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez. Completing the sorry tale, Jarmila Gadjosova and Anastasia Rodionova had earlier been on the end of a 6-1 6-4 defeat to Russia's sixth seeds Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina.

Stosur, who was warned for an audible obscenity as her frustration rose in her dramatic singles match, said she would remain in the Olympic athletes' village and would likely find a hardcourt to on which to practise in London before flying out for her next destination, Montreal, on August 4.

In between, she and Dellacqua will attend an Olympic weightlifting session and any others she can get tickets to.


"I'd like to think I can practise and still have some time to enjoy something about this Olympics," Stosur said.  "Everything was good before today so hopefully it will be good again tomorrow.

"I definitely want to get out there and see what I can. A lot of the sports that I wanted to see there is no more tickets so unless some become available I won't be going to those.

"But I do have tickets to a weightlifting session, which I've never gone to before. It's men's 85kg plus and there is not even an Australian in it — that's how desperate we were to buy tickets to something."

Stosur's singles demise was sadly the same old story for her on grass, a surface on which she has a wretched record at the All England Club.

The Australian, the fifth seed at the tournament, had defeated Suarez Navarro in two brief sets in the Wimbledon first round last month but while the name of her rival was the same in south-west London on Saturday it was an altogether different woman across the net.

Stosur had seemed en route for an enticing second-round meeting with Belgium's veteran champion Kim Clijsters after cruising through the first set.

The third set was pretty tight. Overall I'm happy with what I did out there, it's one of those matches where there were just a couple of points in it and I lost those ones.

However, all of a sudden she found herself in an unexpected dogfight as the 23-year-old from Barcelona found a new lease of life, applying tactic 101 in playing Stosur on grass — marginalising her weapons, the serve and forehand, by encroaching on the baseline and beyond.

Not for the first time it worked a treat and Suarez Navarro turned the tables emphatically, squaring the match and then, as the decider turned into a nailbiter and the match edged towards three hours in duration, keeping her head to put a fighting but foundering Stosur out of the tournament.

They may be the world's most famous set of tennis courts but Stosur, a grand slam winner and finalist elsewhere, can surely have no love for the grass here.

"(The Olympics) is a great tournament to be a part of and you just don't want to lose first round," Stosur said.

"I had break points at 4-3 in the second set which I just didn't convert and that was the last big chance that I had.

"The third set was pretty tight. Overall I'm happy with what I did out there, it's one of those matches where there were just a couple of points in it and I lost those ones."

Stosur said the Spaniard had employed a different approach to when she was the Australian's first-round victim at Wimbledon this year.

"At the start she stood up on my serve a little bit more and tried to take it a bit earlier," she said. "For sure she played better than at Wimbledon but I thought I still played a pretty decent level.

"She went for a bit more, stood close to the baseline, maybe used her backhand down the line a bit more and just kept me a bit more off balance."