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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Stosur triumphs in stamina test

Photo Titled Samantha Stosur
Samantha Stosur

Samantha Stosur needed more than two hours to overcome qualifier Tatjana Malek 4-6, 7-6 (8-6), 6-4 to keep Australian interest in the women’s singles alive into the third round.

Green and gold were the dominant colours on Court 18 as Stosur’s compatriots flocked to support the 19th seed against the 21-year-old German, who had eliminated Jelena Dokic, another Australian, in the previous round.

Despite looking businesslike in her sponsor's white cap and designer sunglasses, Stosur ran into early problems against her 101st-ranked opponent through errors of her own making, dropping serve to love with four unforced errors to fall 2-3 behind.

There appeared little chance of recovering that break as Malek served solidly. Stosur, a world number one doubles player with 22 titles, reached her first Grand Slam singles semi-finals at Roland Garros this month, but it was her good doubles-style work around the net that helped to stave off crisis, if only briefly, when she saved four set points on her own delivery before Malek routinely served out to take the set 6-4 in 38 minutes.

The German continued her fine play into the second set, moving into a 4-2 lead and looking good to clinch a spot in the next round. But Stosur was not done yet. After breaking back as a strong breeze started to play its part, she took the set into a tie-break, which she won 8-6 to steal the set.

Malek appeared unfazed by the setback, racing to a 4-1 lead in the decider and again looking to have the match in the bag. But the lengthy rallies were beginning to take their toll and as Stosur battled back to 3-4, exhaustion started to creep in to the German’s game. Stosur, looking the stronger, held serve to level at 4-4 and after another break served out the set to win a gruelling match after two hours and four minutes.

Court 18 - Ladies' Singles - 2nd Round
Samantha Stosur AUS (18)Winner4786
Tatjana Malek GER 6664

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