US Open champion Sam Stosur has crashed out of the Australian Open, losing 7-6 6-3 in her first-round match against Romanian Sorana Cirstea.
The world No.60 played a superb game in front of the shocked Rod Laver Arena crowd and refused to allow Stosur to gain any rhythm in the match, finishing it off in 91 minutes.
Stosur, who had been training extremely hard in the off-season to improve upon her best result of fourth-round finishes at the Australian Open in 2006 and 2010, said the loss was crushing.
“I'm probably very close to crying, having a really awful night. But, you know, I think you feel what you feel, whether it's good or bad. It's hard to suppress those emotions when it means so much to you,” she said.
“I want to do better here. But I can't think that because this month didn't go the way I wanted it to, the year is shot either.
“It's January. We have till the start of November to find form. I'm sure within that period of time I definitely will play better and play the way I know I can.”
Cirstea hit 28 winners to Stosur's 12, and also hit fewer unforced errors – Stosur finished with 33. The Romanian adopted an aggressive game plan against the No.6 seed, winning 16 points at the net compared to Stosur's five.
For Stosur, the loss continues a less-than-ideal start to the year. She lost her second-round match in Brisbane and in her opener at Sydney, before falling in the first round here. It was the first time Stosur had lost her opening match in Melbourne since 2005.
But known for being a measured and rational person, the world No.5 said she would continue to look forward.
“I'll probably take at least a few days off, maybe get away, try and not think about it (and) kind of forget about what's happened a little bit,” she said.
“It's not going to deter me from doing what I want to do. If anything, it will probably spur me on to try even harder and do even more.”