Australian No.1 Samantha Stosur has always struggled with the pressure of high expectations on home soil and this year she had an additional burden in the form of insufficient preparations due to a minor ankle surgery a month and a half ago. Even though Stosur said that she didn't feel as huge a frustration or weight on her shoulders as last year, two first-round losses to kick off the 2013 season, no matter how close they were, must be hurting.
After falling to Sofia Arvidsson 7-6(4) 7-5 in the first round of the Brisbane International, in Monday's night match at the Apia International Sydney, Stosur bowed out to Zheng Jie 6-3 6-7(7) 6-4 in round one. Despite another defeat, Stosur is glad for winning a set and climbing up a break in the third set. In seven years, Stosur has managed to win just two matches at the Sydney tournament, while in Brisbane she's never been past the second round in four tries.
The world No.9 Stosur is now heading to Melbourne and the Australian Open which starts next Monday. She has never done better than the fourth round at the Australian Open and with such poor 2013 lead-up to the Grand Slam, her prospects look quite grim. (photo: © Neal Trousdale)