Stosur’s swansong rolls on; Inglis stuns Fernandez
RETIRING US Open winner, Australian Samantha Stosur has lived to fight another day after winning her first round match at the 2022 Australian Open. Kick-starting her final singles tournament in her home country, Stosur fought back from a set down to defeat fellow wildcard, United States’ Robin Anderson. The Australian dropped the first set in a tiebreaker 5-7, before coming back to win in two and a half hours, 6-7 6-3 6-3.
Announcing her retirement from singles – though she will remain competing in doubles for the foreseeable future – Stosur wanted to finish her career at Melbourne Park. It has not always been a happy hunting ground for the 37-year-old former world number four. Though now ranked 487th in the world, Stosur has claimed nine singles and 28 doubles titles throughout her illustrious career, winning almost $20 million USD from singles alone in that time.
Though her last singles title came at Strasbourg in 2017, Stosur won the 2011 US Open, stunning red-hot favourite Serena Williams in the final. She also reached the 2010 Roland Garros final, and a number of semi-finals on clay, which seemed to be her most consistent surface. Having also won a remarkable nine Grand Slam doubles titles and three Grand Slam mixed doubles titles, Stosur can easily say she achieved far more than most.
Though her singles career is coming to an end, she was determined to leave nothing out on the court, and it showed against Anderson. Throughout the match she served 12 aces to serve and won 76 per cent of her first serve points off a 63 per cent efficiency. Stosur also managed to break five times to two and use her court coverage and net ability from doubles to full advantage. Of the 38 net points she won 25, whilst Anderson only won 10 of 18. The Australian also produced 36 winners to 27, and though she hit 53 unforced errors to 39, she still won 11 more points than her opponent.
After securing the second set to level the match, Stosur and Anderson traded breaks across three games, before Stosur held to love in the sixth game of the deciding set. Though Anderson held her next serve, Stosur held and then was one game away from victory at 5-3. Unfortunately for the American, she hit three consecutive unforced errors to hand Stosur the game, and the match.
Stosur now takes on 10th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the second round of the tournament on Thursday.
INGLIS STUNS US OPEN FINALIST FOR FIRST AUS OPEN WIN
Meanwhile another Australian Open wildcard Maddison Inglis brought up her maiden Grand Slam main draw match win by stunning 23rd seed and US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez. Playing consistent throughout the match, Inglis stunned the Canadian talent with a 6-4 6-2 win in 83 minutes. The last game took more than five minutes to complete, and after missing on a drop shot with her first match point, Inglis was able to celebrate when Fernandez hit her 30th unforced error of the match.
The world number 133 Inglis could not believe she got the win, which she called “third time lucky” after two previous main draw losses.
“No I seriously can’t, I’m shaking,” Inglis said. “I’m super stoked with how I played today. “I executed the game plan really well, I held my nerves really well and I’m super happy to win my first match of AO on this court with this crowd, it’s amazing.”
Inglis won 73 per cent of her first serve and 50 per cent of her second points off a 75 per cent efficiency. She hit six more winners than Fernandez (14-8) and three less unforced errors (27-30) in an outstanding victory. Now she heads into the second round of the Australian Open to face 20-year-old American Hayley Baptiste who upset Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia in three tight sets.