Stosur plays to script in yet another early exit from Brisbane

At some point, Sam Stosur is just going to give herself an extra week off. The Queenslander’s home tournament has not been kind to her for the best part of a decade. On Sunday, that didn’t change one bit.

It’s become something or a running gag that Stosur’s annual demise in Brisbane heralds the official start of the tennis summer, like the first ball of a Gabba Test might do for cricket. Eight times she has played the event and never made it past the second round.

This time, at least, she wasn’t widely expected to be sailing through unscathed.

The world No. 41 was easily handled by Latvian seventh seed Anastasija Sevastova, losing 6-1, 6-3 despite showing some grit in the second set. It was a swift demise that will now ensure she plays in the Sydney International ahead of the n Open, where her best result remains the fourth round (2006, 2010).

Stosur was hardly kicking cans after the defeat, saying Sevastova was in fine touch and there was little reason to panic after her first outing of the new season.

“I didn’t feel too bad. She played a very good match, she served exceptionally well. Having said that, I had a few break point opportunities and she came up with the goods every time.

“There are things you obviously want to do better and things I’ll be working on before I play in Sydney. I’m not walking away thinking ‘Jeez, that was a terrible start’ or anything like that.

“I did everything I needed to do. I’m feeling really good, really healthy, so I guess that’s all you can do to set yourself up for the year ahead.”

Stosur had a mixed year in 2017, struggling for form in early patches and missing the grasscourt season with a hand injury. She relinquished her stranglehold as the No.1-ranked n woman to Daria Gavrilova, who in turn was passed by a resurgent Ash Barty.

Yet she still managed to win her ninth WTA Tour event in Strasbourg and was emboldened by another good showing at the French Open, where she reached the fourth round before losing to eventual winner Je??ena Ostapenko.

She said her hand injury continued to provide an occasional niggle but was able to be managed and wouldn’t represent an issue as the year unfolded.

“It’s pretty much back to normal, although even a couple of weeks ago I was still getting some aching and a funny sensation. I know how to manage that, it’s nothing major. I’m not thinking about it anymore when I’m playing.”

Earlier on Monday, last year’s runner-up Alice Cornet progressed to the second round after her French compatriot withdrew due to a back complaint. The match was level at 3-6, 6-3 when Garcia called a halt to proceedings in the opening game of the third set.

All n eyes will be on the night session on Tuesday as Davis Cup hero Jordan Thompson opens the evening on Pat Rafter Arena against American Jared Donaldson, before ‘s highest-ranked player Ash Barty meets Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko.

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