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Stosur stuns Kerber, No.4 seed crashes out

6 January 2020, by

UPDATED: Sam Stosur has given her home crowd plenty to cheer about on Day 1 of the Brisbane International, ousting fellow Grand Slam champion Angelique Kerber to reach the second round.

The 35-year-old had won her opening match in Brisbane only four times in nine prior appearances and snapped a four-match losing streak at her home tournament.

“I’m very, very happy with that win … probably my first top-20 win in a little while,” the world No.99 said.

“It’s probably my best win here.”

Against three-time major champion Kerber, the Australian looked to have botched a 5-2 lead in the opening set and even trailed 1-5 in the tie-break before reeling off six straight points to eke out the opening set.

In an even closer second set, neither player was able to break serve and it was Stosur, the 2011 US Open champion, who again who took control in the tie-break, sealing the result when Kerber’s backhand angled wide.

“It’s sort of the way I want to be all the time on the court [but] I put more pressure on myself than anyone would ever do,” Stosur said.

“Sometimes I want it a little too bad and that’s when you get hamstrung, but today I felt like I stayed relaxed and composed and did those things I want to do all the time.”

It was Stosur’s fourth win in 10 meetings with the 31-year-old and was the first time she had beaten a left-handed opponent in Brisbane in four attempts.

She will meet either No.8 seed Madison Keys, or her conqueror from last year’s event, Marie Bouzkova, next.

In the biggest upset of Day 1, American Danielle Collins trounced No.4 seed and 2018 Brisbane champion Elina Svitolina to reach the second round.

A semi-finalist at last year’s Australian Open, Collins’ heavy striking kept the Ukrainian world No.5 off-balance as she progressed 6-1 6-1.

The world No.27 was particularly effective on serve, winning 77 per cent of first serve points to Svitolina’s 38 per cent.

Collins will next meet either qualifier Yulia Putintseva or last year’s semi-finalist Donna Vekic.

In an all-Australian battle of the wildcards, Ajla Tomljanovic outlasted Fed Cup teammate Priscilla Hon on Monday night 6-2 4-6 6-4.

The world No.54 had fallen in her only prior meeting with the 21-year-old in Seoul last year but avenged defeat to set a second-round meeting with No.2 seed and defending champion Karolina Pliskova.

Tomljanovic won 40 per cent of first-return points but only converted five of 14 break point opportunities.