Stumbling Stosur refusing to panic
Samantha Stosur is refusing to “freak out” about an alarming first-round loss to the world No.251 that has left the US Open champion desperately short of grasscourt match practice six days out from Wimbledon.
Belgian battler Kirsten Flipkens seized on some good fortune to send top seed Stosur packing from s-Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands with a 7-6 (9-7) 6-3 defeat.
It was Stosur’s first grasscourt encounter since an equally unthinkable opening-round loss at Wimbledon last year to world No.262 Melinda Czink.
But after just one third-round appearance in nine visits to the All England Club, despite a swag of far more successful build-ups in years past, Stosur isn’t hitting the panic button.
“I don’t know what the secret recipe is for doing well at Wimbledon, so I’m not going to freak out at all,” she said.
“Of course I would have liked more matches and that’s why you play these lead-up tournaments, and tournaments in general, for confidence and for matches and all that.
“But I’m not going to get down on myself. I played a pretty decent match and lost and that’s all it is.
“I’ll get enough practice in this week and probably play a few practice sets with other girls when I get to London.
“I think I’ll be fine.”
While she was definitely below her best, with a couple of sloppy errors at the net proving particularly costly, Stosur was also unlucky against the lowly-ranked Flipkens.
After racing to a 3-0 lead, the world No.5 fist-pumped believing she’d taken the opening set in the 10th game with her fifth ace.
Even Flipkens conceded the set as she headed for her changeover chair.
Alas, the umpire made his only over-rule of the 95-minute match in a clear turning point from which Stosur was unable to recover.
“I really thought I won that set and then you don’t win it and you’re a set behind,” Stosur said.
“I don’t think I did too much wrong. I had my set points and, on grass, sometimes that’s the way it goes.
“Overall I was quite happy with the way I played. It wasn’t really anything disastrous.
“It was just a few points here and there.”
As Stosur planned to head straight from the Netherlands to the London practice courts, two countrymen began their Wimbledon qualifying campaigns on Monday.
James Duckworth beat Slovenian Ajaz Bedene 6-3 7-6 (7-0), but Ben Mitchell, the 2010 junior boys’ champion at the All England Club, bombed out 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 6-3 against Brit Chris Eaton.
After pulling out of the Halle grasscourt tournament last week complaining of stomach cramps, Bernard Tomic will resume his Wimbledon build-up on Wednesday at Eastbourne against Italian Fabio Fognini.
And Lleyton Hewitt is playing an exhibition event this week in London as he prepares for his 14th straight Wimbledon tilt, this year as a wildcard ranked No.202 in the world.© AAP 2013