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Stosur blames nerves for shock defeat

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Originally published on: 17/01/12 12:54

With the biggest triumph of her career at the US Open still fresh in the memory, Sam Stosur admitted in the weeks leading up to the Australian Open that the weight of expectation ahead of the summer swing was troubling her.

Defeated by Iveta Benesova in Brisbane and by Francesca Schiavone in Sydney, those increasingly apparent pressures culminated in a straight sets defeat at her home Grand Slam as Stosur was beaten 7-6(2) 6-3 by Sorana Cirstea.

“I’m extremely disappointed,” said the Queenslander, who had never before been beyond round four in Melbourne.

“Certainly not the way I wanted [it], not just this tournament but the whole summer together.”

World No.59 Cirstea played out of her skin in securing victory on her fourth match point, warily saying afterwards: “probably the whole country hates me.”

In fact, both Stosur and the crowd could give credit where credit was due. “She was playing super aggressive,” said Stosur. “She would either hit great balls, especially at the start, or could miss by a long way.

“She hung in there and kept going for it and eventually got better and better. I think she played a very, very good match.”

Nerves, Stosur conceded, had their wicked way with her body – or at least she allowed them to – in a match that truly mattered.

“Physically I think it is easy to see that you tighten up, your shoulders do get tight, you don’t hit through the ball,” she said.

“When anyone’s nervous, I think the first thing that goes is your footwork. You don’t move your feet as well. Once that breaks down, it’s easy for other things to start breaking down.”

A proud Australian, Stosur had wanted nothing more than to back up her Flushing Meadows triumph with glory in front of her home fans.

“It’s not through lack of trying or not wanting it or anything like that,” urged the 27-year-old. “I mean, you can’t pick the times that you want to play well.

“Of course, I wanted to do very well here. But that’s sport, unfortunately you can’t pick and choose when it’s all going to happen for you.”

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