The last Australian in the Brisbane International singles draw has fallen after a rollercoaster day for Samantha Stosur ended with a disappointing dip.
Just hours after her return to the Australian Fed Cup team was confirmed, Stosur was bounced 6-4 6-4 by Czech Lucie Safarova in the second round on Pat Rafter Arena on Tuesday night.
It followed the Tuesday exits of compatriots Brydan Klein and Joe Sirianni in the men’s opening round and Slovakian-born, Australian-based Jarmila Gajdosova in the women’s second round.
On the comeback trail after finally overcoming illness, Stosur, 24, lost the match in little over an hour despite claiming to be hitting the ball better than in her first round win over ninth seed Ai Sugiyama of Japan.
Stosur – whose world ranking dropped outside 150 after being struck down with Lyme disease and viral meningitis in mid-2007 – will next prepare for the Sydney International starting on Sunday in a bold bid to break back into the top 30.
Although disappointed with the second round loss, Stosur was buoyed by her nod for the Australian squad for February’s Asia-Oceania round-robin tournament in Perth.
Stosur joins former world No.4 Jelena Dokic, Casey Dellacqua and doubles specialist Rennae Stubbs as Australia seeks to qualify for the next round of the women’s team competition.
“I’m happy to be back in the team again this year, I think we’ve got a really good team put together and we’ve got as good a chance as any other time we’ve played to try and qualify,” Stosur said.
“We’ve had good teams that we’ve been able to put there but we’ve never really been able to put our strongest team together at one time, so we’ve been a little bit unlucky but hopefully this year it’s all going to turn around for us.”
But Stosur’s day ended in frustration when she became yet another Australian to fall to the Czech at Brisbane.
Safarova had earlier spoilt the WTA Tour debut of 17-year-old local wildcard Isabella Holland at the tournament.
“To be honest I actually thought I hit the ball better tonight than I did yesterday (against Sugiyama) – obviously I am very disappointed to lose but full credit to Lucie,” Stosur said.
“I thought I played two good matches here this week. It is something to build on for next week (at Sydney) and going into Melbourne (Australian Open).”
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