Stosur gets revenge on grand slam nemesis

Thursday, 28 October 2010 05:49 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Samantha Stosur laid the ghosts of Roland Garros to rest with a spirited comeback victory over Italy’s Francesca Schiavone on the opening day of the WTA Championships in Doha.

Stosur confessed to carrying psychological scars of her shattering French Open final loss to Schiavone into her singles debut at the eight-woman $A4.63 million tour finale.

But, just as time heals all wounds, it seems a shot of revenge is good tonic too.

“Any time you lose to someone, for sure you want to try and beat them the next time regardless of the tournament or what it means,” Stosur said after recovering from a double service break down in the first set to overpower Schiavone 6-4 6-4 at the Khalifa Tennis Centre.

“To know that I was able to handle it mentally and to not be so frustrated and still looking back at something that happened six months ago, yeah it’s pleasing.”

Despite being the first Australian woman in 30 years to reach a grand slam final, Stosur still hasn’t been able to bring herself to watch a replay of her breakthrough final appearance in Paris.

“I might now,” the candid Queenslander said after turning the tables on Schiavone.

“But, no, I’m getting closer to the point of wanting to watch it, so we’ll see what happens.”

Stosur’s coach David Taylor actually watched it on Tuesday and his encouraging advice afterwards helped his charge remain calm despite winning just three points in the opening four games to quickly fall behind 4-0.

“Dave said at lunchtime: ‘You know, there wasn’t a lot you did wrong at the French, so there’s no need to panic and start thinking you’ve got to change your game plan and do all these different things against her’,” Stosur said.

‘She’s still the same player.’

“So I just had to play the way I knew I wanted to play. I didn’t really change anything too much, just had to execute it better, and that’s what I was able to do.”

Stosur pocketed a cool $US200,000 for her day’s efforts - $US100,000 for the win and another $US100,000 merely for turning up.

Most importantly, the 26-year-old collected a bagful of rankings points and progressed to within one more group win of a probable semi-final appearance in the Qatar capital.

Victory over either top seed Caroline Wozniacki on Wednesday (5am Thursday AEDT) or Elena Dementieva in her final round-robin match should vault Stosur into the sudden-death semi-finals.

“It would be nice to have as best a finish as possible here,” Stosur said.

“The more matches I win, the higher I’m going to finish (in the year-end rankings) as well, so there’s lots of rewards to be had the more matches I win.

“It would be nice to finish the year on a high and it will definitely give me lots of confidence going into next year.”

In her tournament opener, Wozniacki blitzed an ailing Dementieva 6-1 6-1 to close to within one tantalising win of securing the 2010 top ranking, a scenario made possible by the absence of injured superstar Serena Williams.

Russian second seed Vera Zvonareva remained the only player who could possibly deny Wozniacki after downing struggling Serb Jelena Jankovic 6-3 6-0 in Tuesday’s other match.