Samantha Stosur, the top seed in Brisbane, is out of the competition in the second round. Stosur was defeated 6-2, 6-4 by her countrywoman, the big-hitting Jarmila Groth. Groth was down 2-4 in the second set, but broke Stosur back. Groth hit a total of nine aces, with seven of them appearing in the first set, in which she won points on all fourteen of her first serves. Stosur never saw a break opportunity in the match.
Shahar Peer, who was seeded second, is also out of Brisbane, defeated by Lucie Safarova.
Flavia Pennetta was to have played in Brisbane, but she is sick with a
gastro-intestinal illness. Daniela Hantuchova withdrew because her left
achilles tendon problem.
Sabine Lisicki is back to her ace-hitting ways in Auckland. She hit ten in her first round match, which she won. Lisicki is a qualifier in Auckland. Heather Watson, also a qualifier (she beat top qualifying seed Alberta Brianti, in the second qualifying round), won her first round match against Noppawan Lertcheewakarn.
Stosur's defeat to a flat hitter with a big serve should give her something to think about before the Australian Open. Stosur's own serve is well-known, but like Justine Henin's, it is not consistent. In the French Open final, Francesca Schiavone had little problem handling Stosur's kick serve, which is the Australian's go-to second serve (and sometimes her first serve, too). Still, Stosur can frequently dominate on a clay court, as she did last year in Charleston, and throughout most of the French Open. She continues, however, to be vulnerable on other surfaces