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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Samantha Stosur

 Samantha "Sam" Jane Stosur, born 30 March 1984 is an Australian professional tennis player. She won the 2011 US Open singles title and was a finalist at the 2010 French Open. Stosur is ranked World No. 6 and her career high in singles is World No. 4, achieved on 21 February 2011. She is a former world No. 1 on the WTA Tour in doubles with Lisa Raymond from the United States.

Stosur first played professional tennis in 1999 on the ITF circuit. She debuted on the Women's Tennis Association tour in 2000, losing in the first qualifying round of the Australian Open. In 2001 she won four straight ITF titles. In 2002 she lost in the first round at the Gold Coast event.

In 2003, Stosur won her first WTA singles matches, reaching the third round of the Australian Open. She lost in the third round to no. 7 seed, Daniela Hantuchová. She also qualified for a WTA event in Memphis.

In 2004, Stosur reached the semifinals of the Gold Coast event, before falling to Ai Sugiyama. The next week, she reached the second round of the WTA tournament in Hobart, then the second round of the Australian Open. She later qualified for WTA events in Acapulco, Indian Wells, Vienna and Birmingham. Stosur competed at the Athens Olympics, where she lost in the first round. She continued to play WTA qualifying events, qualifying for the Japan Open and Bali in the autumn of 2004. At the end of the 2004 season, Stosur reached the doubles final in Québec City, partnered with Els Callens from Belgium.


Seeded first, Stosur started the year lost in the second round of the Brisbane International to Iveta Benesova 4–6, 2–6. Stosur then suffered two first round defeats at the hands of Francesca Schiavone at the Apia International Sydney 2–6, 4–6, and then by Romanian Sorana Cîrstea 6–7(2), 3–6 at the Australian Open. Stosur admitted that the she could not cope under the heavy weight of home expectation especially after winning the 2011 U.S. Open. Despite the result, Stosur's ranking remained at no 5. due to her not having too many ranking points to lose and Li Na failing to defend her finalist points at last year's Australian Open. Stosur then traveled to Fribourg, Switzerland to represent Australia in their Fed Cup tie against Switzerland. She won both of her singles rubbers against Timea Bacsinszky 6–2, 7–5 and Stefanie Voegele 6–3, 6–2.

She then competed at the 2012 Qatar Total Open in Doha where she was seeded three and avenged her loss in the first round of the Australian Open by defeating Sorana Cirstea 6-4, 7-6(5) in the second round and eventually lost in the final to current world no. 1 Victoria Azarenka, who had not lost a match (17–0) to that point in 2012. Her second Middle-East tournament was the 2012 Dubai Tennis Championships where she defeated Lucie Safarova in the second round 6-1, 6-7(5), 6-1 but for the second straight year lost to former world number no. 1 Jelena Jankovic 4-6, 2-6.

Stosur then traveled to the USA to compete in two premier tournaments, the first being 2012 BNP Paribas Open where she defeated young American Irina Falconi 6-0, 6-3 to make the third round where she lost a very tough match to Nadia Petrova 1-6, 7-6(6), 6-7(5). Then at the Miami Stosur made the quarterfinsls after making a big comeback from 2-6, 2-5 to defeat Chanelle Scheepers 2-6, 7-5, 6-2. Serena Williams got revenge on Stosur for the 2011 US Open final by defeating Sam 7-5, 6-3.

At the 2012 Family Circle Cup in Charleston, Stosur entered the tournament as second seed and had a first round bye. Stosur defeated wild card player Jamie Hampton 6–0, 7–5 in the second round and Galina Voskoboeva 6–3, 4–6, 6–2 in the third round. At the quarterfinals, Stosur defeated Venus Williams for the first time 6–3, 4–6, 6–3 after losing to her in the previous four encounters. However, Stosur's run ended in the semifinals where she lost to eventual champion Serena Williams 1–6 1–6. Had Stosur won against Serena, she would be been the eighth player to defeat both Williams sisters at any one tournament.

After this Stosur made her way to Stuttgart were she won both her singles matches against Germany in the Fed-Cup World Group play-off. She defeated two top twenty players Angelique Kerber, the same player who Stosur faced in the 2011 US Open semifinal and Andrea Petkovic for their first ever head-to-head match. At the WTA event in the same city, Stosur reached the quarterfinals by defeating the defending champion Julia Georges in three sets. She lost in the quarterfinals to Maria Sharapova 7–6, 6–7, 5–7 despite holding a match point in the second set.

At the third Premier Mandatory event in Madrid, Stosur defeated Petra Martic 7–5, 4–6, 7–6(5) and Christina McHale 2–6, 6–4, 6–0 in the first two rounds on the blue clay courts. Stosur's third round opponent will be Petra Cetkovska, who defeated tenth seed Vera Zvonareva and Lourdes Domínguez Lino in straight sets. Stosur won the match in straight sets 6–3, 6–2 to reach the quarterfinals where she lost a tight match to Lucie Hradecka 7-6(8), 7-6(6).

Competing at the 2012 French Open as the sixth seed, Stosur advanced to the quarterfinals without dropping a set. She defeated Nadia Petrova 6-3, 6-3 in the third round and then outplayed Sloane Stephens 6-4, 7-5. She defeated Dominika Cibulkova, who defeated the #1 seed Victoria Azarenka in the fourth round, 6-4, 6-1 to reach her third French Open semi-final.

An accomplished doubles player, Stosur in her early years developed a serve and volley style of play but as the years progressed, she started to feel more comfortable hitting on the baseline and coming to the net less often. Although she is known for being a doubles specialist and having great volleys and drop-shots while playing doubles, in her singles matches, Stosur has a tendency to miss-hit these shots. Her right-handed forehand ground-strokes, hit with heavy top-spin, are considered her best, as evidenced by her often choosing to hit inside-out forehands. She can hit forehand winners from any side of the court, and her motion when hitting her forehands makes it hard for her opponents to guess where she will hit it to. Accordingly, many players attack her backhand side, which was considered a weakness of her game; however in 2010, Stosur adopted Pat Rafter's signature backhand slice, to add to her game and help her set up points. She has also improved on her two-handed backhand generating winners on occasion, particularly her backhand down the line. Stosur is also noted for her athleticism and after bouncing back from a career-threatening Lyme's Disease, she has became one of the fittest players on tour.

Because of its power, kick and variety, Stosur's serve is widely considered one of the best on the women's tour. Her first serve, however erratic, reaches more than 118 mph (190 km/h) on a regular basis. Her second, a high bouncing kick serve, is highly rated as being the best second serve in the women's game by media and players alike, and was thought to play a key role in her French Open success in 2009 and 2010. One thing that Stosur has changed in her game, thanks to coach David Taylor, is the fact that her serve has been less predictable with Stosur sometimes even using her kick serve as first serves. Her good serving motion has helped her overhead smashes and she rarely misses those shots.

Her favourite surface is hard court. Stosur has also mentioned that her least favourite surface is grass and this is mostly because her biggest weapons (top-spin forehand & kick-serve) are not very effective on this surface. Her performances at Wimbledon have reflected this, as she has only gone past the second round once on the lone grass-court Grand Slam event.

In her earlier years on the WTA tour, Stosur's real weakness was her inability to handle the pressure at major matches and being poor at closing out matches. In her first four WTA tour finals, she won the first set only to lose the match. On her off-days, she can hit over 50 unforced errors. She has shown great improvement in these areas, and the weaknesses are seen less frequently now, as evidenced by her calm dispatch of the four-time Roland Garros champion and former World No. 1 Justine Henin; one time Roland Garros champion and the then-current World No. 1 Serena Williams; and former World No. 1 Jelena Janković, in the 4th round, quarter-final and semi-final at the 2010 Roland Garros.

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