Monday, March 30, 2009

Stosur leaves trail of upsets behind her--can she do it again?

Sam Stosur has always had a sweet serve and a shaky psyche. When she misses her often ace-producing first serve, she has one of the best kick serves around. That serve, along with her considerable volleying skills, should make her a dangerous opponent. But Stosur has a tendency to choke at big moments, and she has managed to lose several contests she should have won.

This season--after having missed so much time because of serious illness--the affable Australian is concentrating on singles, and it shows. She has already pulled off three upsets at the Sony Ericsson Open (though her first one, against Sybille Bammer, was helped along by Bammer's shoulder injury). Her first-round opponent retired, then she defeated Bammer and number 2 seed Dinara Safina; today she also defeated 20th seed Amelie Mauresmo.

Next in line for Stosur is Victoria Azarenka, arguably her toughest opponent so far, given Mauresmo's struggle to return to form, and Safina's fall from form. Azarenka may well end Stosur's Miami run; she has beaten Stosur both times they have played one another. At any rate, this has the makings of a good match.

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