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Another Stosur loss on home soil

Sam Stosur has made a second-round exit from the Sydney International, losing her match against China's Jie Zheng 6-3, 6-7 (7-9), 6-4.

PT1M0S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2cdey 620 349

SAMANTHA STOSUR'S Australian hoodoo continued as she slumped to her fourth consecutive loss on home soil on Monday night.

It was the former US Open champion's second shock first-round exit from the Sydney International for the 28-year-old in as many years, this time going down to China's Jie Zheng 6-3, 6-7 (7-9), 6-4 after holding a two-game advantage in the final set.

The loss has raised more questions about her Australian Open credentials, while her record at the Sydney International since losing the final to fellow Australian Alicia Molik in 2005 now stands at two wins from seven matches.

APIA International Sydney tennis centre Sydney Olympic Park.
Sam Stosur Australia vs Jie Zheng of China 
Photography Brendan Esposito
smh,7th January,2012

Low blow … Samantha Stosur continued her horror run of early exits on Monday night. Photo: Brendan Esposito

The world No.9's losing streak in Australia stretches back to last year's Brisbane International, where she lost in straight sets to world No.54 Iveta Benesova. She was outclassed by Francesca Schiavone in Sydney last year, going down in straight sets before she was bundled out of the Australian Open by world No.59 Sorana Cirstea in the first round.

It was a poor start on Monday night from Stosur, on the comeback from ankle surgery, broken in her first two serving games to slip to 4-0.

Zheng, ranked No.42, held her nerve as a rattled Stosur gifted the Chinese the first set.

Hot weather brewing as Bernard Tomic feels the heat in Practice at the APIA International tennis tournament preparation for the expected searing 43 degree temperatures on Tuesday. Click for more photos

APIA International Tennis - Day 2

Hot weather brewing as Bernard Tomic feels the heat in Practice at the APIA International tennis tournament preparation for the expected searing 43 degree temperatures on Tuesday. Photo: Brendan Esposito

At 2-2 in the second, Stosur survived three break points to hold serve, and that sparked her into action. But she squandered set point to allow Zheng back into the contest at 5-3. It again proved costly with Zheng breaking back the following game and then holding serve to make it 5-5.

Stosur squandered her third set point in the next game to allow Zheng to send it into a tie-breaker. The Australian blew her fourth set point but managed to hold on to the first one off her own serve shortly after to claim the tie-breaker 9-7 and take the match into a third set.

Stosur broke Zheng's first service game of the decider, before the Chinese broke back, and then again to lead 4-3 before Stosur hit back to trail 5-4. With the opportunity to level the set off her serve, Stosur capitulated and handed Zheng three match points. Zheng wasted one chance but Stosur sent her forehand crashing into the net to surrender victory.

''It's bad because it's another loss but … I feel better after this week's loss than I did after last week's loss,'' Stosur said.

''I do feel like I'm handling [playing in Australia] better. I don't feel the same overwhelming stress … I'm really trying to enjoy it … It's not the issue this time around.''