Stosur knocked out of home slam early, again

Wed Jan 16, 2013 6:04am EST
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By Greg Stutchbury

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Playing an unranked opponent, 5-2 up in the third set and serving for the match, world number nine Samantha Stosur agreed she had 'choked' to lose her Australian Open second round match against China's Zheng Jie on Wednesday.

The 6-4 1-6 7-5 'choke' ensured she crashed out of her home grand slam early, again. The Australian has not advanced beyond the fourth round at Melbourne Park in 10 main draws.

Her form in her home country is even more abysmal. Over the last two seasons, the 2011 U.S. Open champion has won just twice in eight matches.

"Obviously it's a pretty hard one to take when you get yourself well and truly into a winning position (and) playing really quite well," Stosur told reporters. "Then all of a sudden you get to 5‑2 and you lose five games straight.

"Whatever word you want to put on it. At 5-2 up in the third, double break probably is a bit of a choke, yeah."

Stosur had started terribly against Zheng, who had beaten her a week earlier in the first round in Sydney, with her kick serve drifting wide of the service line or beyond the "T".

However, battling to hold her serve in the first game of the second set kick-started a renaissance for the Australian and she won 11 of the next 14 games.

Serving for the match, and a third round clash with Germany's Julia Goerges, the Australian served a double fault and then blasted an easy forehand return straight into the net.   Continued...

Samantha Stosur of Australia reacts during her women's singles match against Zheng Jie of China at the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne, January 16, 2013. REUTERS/Daniel Munoz