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After her US Open success last year, you’d think that Sam Stosur would win a few matches at the Australian Open. Surprisingly, that hasn’t been the case, with the 27 year-old winning just one match from the three tournaments she’s played this year.
Pressure to perform is her biggest enemy at the moment. Unlike Andy Murray at Wimbledon, Stosur is unable to use the home crowd to her advantage. As the World No.5 said, she felt like a “bombshell” in Australia which has robbed her of the ability to finish matches and comeback from deficits. However, she is not on her own, with Lleyton Hewitt replicating the same result at the Australian Open in 2002 after triumphing in Flushing Meadows the year before.
If I was Stosur, I would hang up the racquets for the next few weeks to get her mind off tennis. This is a player who is mentally scarred and cannot cope with the weight of expectation. Before her next tournament, the Gold Coast native should rectify two important facets of her game. They are:
– The serve: Although the serve is a powerful weapon, her second serve is too predictable. Most of the time it lands on the backhand side (assuming it is a right-handed opponent). This would be a bigger problem against players like Benesova and Kvitova who are southpaws. Variation on the serve would do her a world of good.
– The backhand: The former World No.4 must add more depth to her backhand. Most of the backhands she hits are barely past the service line. This gives more opportunities for the opponent to attack and win the point.