Tennis-Stosur ready to finally make her mark on grass

Reuters

Fri, 17 Jun 03:00:00 2011

Australia's Sam Stosur is hoping her early exit from the French Open augurs well for her chances of finally punching her weight at Wimbledon.

With a potent serve and forehand and volleying panache that has helped her reach two women's doubles finals at the All England Club, it remains a mystery why the world number six has never gone beyond the third round in the singles.

This year, after bowing out in the first week of the French Open, having reached the final in 2010, she has enjoyed a longer grasscourt preparation than usual and likes her chances.

"I feel a bit more rested this time," Stosur told Reuters this week at the Eastbourne championships where she beat Wimbledon runner-up Vera Zvonareva on Thursday to reach the semi-finals.

"I had a week longer to prepare for the grass because of losing in the French early. It wasn't planned but that's the way it turned out and everything's going well so far."

Stosur arrived at Wimbledon last year on a high after an impressive run to the French Open final which included wins against Justine Henin, Serena Williams and Jelena Jankovic but lost in the first round to Estonian Kaia Kanepi.

This time she hopes the extra time on the grass will finally allow her to make her mark at a tournament with a rich heritage of Australian champions.

"I don't know if its too much of an advantage having the extra time or not but last year I was more mentally drained and a bit fried," she said.

"This time I've had a good week of practice and got my feet on the grass. I want to do well in all the grand slams but I've never been past the third round at Wimbledon so if I can make it past that and into the second week it would be excellent.

"Grass is a surface that I haven't done great on in the past but I guess it's one of those things you have to deal with.

"This time I've had more preparation time than ever before so hopefully I'll have a better result than I've ever had before."

Now 27, the Gold Coast resident believes some players take longer to mature on grass.

"If you are mature as a player you can play well on any surface but grass is a bit of an evener and it's a mental test to get through scrappy points. It can take a while to learn the right way to play on it.

"The good thing is this year is that there are more than a handful of players who are capable of winning it. You just have to get through each round and you never know, it may be you left at the end."

With defending champion Serena Williams and sister Venus, winners of nine of the last 11 singles titles in London, making a timely return to play at the grasscourt slam, Stosur's chances may have receded slightly.

"It's bad news if you have to play them and lose to them," she said. "But Serena and Venus are fantastic for the sport, they're great players, great ambassadors and it's great to have them back after their injuries."

 

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