Tough Day For Aussies, Brilliant Day For Brits
Published June 27, 2012 12:00
LONDON, England - The first big surprise of the fortnight took place on Wednesday, as No.5 seed Sam Stosur lost to Arantxa Rus. Meanwhile, a British woman reached the third round here for the first time in 10 years.
Wimbledon hasn't been Stosur's best Grand Slam at all - it's the only one she has a losing record at, and she had fallen first round the last two years - but after cruising through her first round match against Carla Suárez Navarro it looked like she was on the verge of finally getting over the hump at SW19.
That wasn't to be, however, and though she put on a second set clinic, the No.5-ranked Stosur still fell to Rus, 62 06 64, leaving Wimbledon without an Australian man or woman in the third round for the first time in the Open Era.
"Today things went my way, her way, my way, her way. It was very, very quick," Stosur said. "After you win a set 6-0 you think you definitely have momentum, then all of a sudden you're quickly down in the third. That's how it goes.
"When I was serving at 4-5 in the third set I had 40-15. I hit a good serve down the T; she hit a great return back; I missed a slice into the top of the tape the next point to go to deuce, and then there's pressure again. It was tough.
"I didn't do the wrong things to lose that service game, but then again, four points went by very quickly and then the match was just finished."
Stosur is now 6-10 at Wimbledon and 49-26 at the other Slams combined.
"This year I hated it a little bit less than in previous years," Stosur said. "It's just disappointing because you want to do well here. I still love playing here at Wimbledon. But obviously it hasn't been my very best tournament."
And on the lack of Australians in the third round? "Obviously it's a pretty woeful performance by all of us, but it's not through lack of trying or wanting to be here or anything like that," the US Open champion said. "It's just one of those things that happened. I think you have to look at it for a longer period of time rather than just one event to say we're in this dire straits kind of mode right now."
Rus scored her second win over a Top 5 player - she beat Kim Clijsters at the French Open last year in a bizarre one, trailing 63 52 but sticking around and saving two match points en route to a 36 75 61 win over the then-World No.2.
"Before the match I knew Sam wasn't a great grass court player - but I wasn't either," Rus said. "In the second set she broke me in the first game, and with these great players if you don't keep the score even, they will just play better amd better. In the third set it was important to win the first game."
Meanwhile, another drought ended: Heather Watson not only reached her first third round at a Grand Slam, but also became the first British woman to reach the third round here since 2002, scoring a 61 64 win over Jamie Hampton.
"As soon as I come off the court, everybody seems to let me know all the stats. I've been told about five times already!" Watson said about the British drought stat. "I just focus on myself and my next match. I was completely unaware.
"As soon as the last point was over for me it was kind of like an explosion of happiness, relief of the match, all the tension's kind of gone and it's setting in. I just love when the crowd is so loud at the end. It's an amazing feeling.
"That's why I play tennis, is for those moments."