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Stosur Ready For Ultimate Test

At 29, Samantha Stosur finally feels ready to make the most of home advantage at the Australian Open.

Published January 11, 2014 12:13

Stosur Ready For Ultimate Test
Samantha Stosur

MELBOURNE, Australia - In recent years Samantha Stosur has not had much to shout about at the Australian Open.

With the weight of a nation's expectations weighing heavily on her shoulders, Stosur's past three appearances at her home major have produced just three wins. However, the 29-year-old believes she is finally ready to embrace the pressure that comes with the status of Australian No.1.

"I'm the top female player from this country. We've got a huge Grand Slam tournament. But I don't think that's really bothered me this time around so far,'' Stosur said during her pre-tournament press conference on Saturday. ''At the end of the day it's always been a really positive thing.

"Anyone that has ever come up to me just wants me to do well and they wish me luck. I know they just want the best for me. I want to try to play well and play my best tennis here in Australia and give them all something to cheer about."

This year, Stosur enjoyed a more low-key build up, electing to play in the Hopman Cup and Hobart instead of the Premier-level double-header of Brisbane and Sydney. After a disappointing Hopman Cup showing, the World No.17 ran into some form and confidence in Hobart, where she reached the semifinals.

"I thought it was a great event. I really enjoyed my time down there," Stosur said. "I thought, you know, scrapping through that first match was obviously a big step for me. That second one was kind of a similar situation - down those couple of match points - and again it's good to win from that position.

"I thought it was exactly what I needed. So, yeah, it was nice to get those three really good matches under my belt and something I kind of always lacked going into this tournament, was match play."

A quirk of fate sees Stosur presented with an immediate rematch against her Hobart conqueror, Klara Zakopalova, whom she was paired together with in the first round in Friday's draw.

The two have also met twice before at the Australian Open, but Stosur will not be dwelling too much on past encounters ahead of Monday afternoon's date on Rod Laver Arena.

"I thought it was a bit funny. And it was a bit strange because at the time of the draw we still had to play our match in Hobart. It will be the third time we've played in the first round of the Aussie Open, so it's a little bit weird.

"I don't think the Hobart match will mean too much. Well, it won't mean too much for me, anyway!

"Obviously yesterday would have been nice if it went my way. But it gives me a chance to really think about what happened and try and work on things and go into Monday with a clear mind. I certainly won't be thinking about that last match a couple days ago."

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