Stosur bows out of singles after Melbourne Park defeat

Melbourne

MELBOURNE : Sam Stosur’s 69th and final appearance in a Grand Slam singles draw ended in a 6-2 6-2 second-round loss to 10th seeded Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova at the Australian Open on Thursday.

The 37-year-old said last month that she would focus only on doubles after her 20th singles appearance at her home Grand Slam going back to 2002.

The former U.S. Open champion had recovered from a set down for a rousing victory in her opening contest at Melbourne Park on Tuesday but there was to be no repeat on Kia Arena.

“I ran for everything as hard as I could to try and draw it out a little bit more, but Pav played great today and she was just too good,” she said.

For a long time the player most likely to end Australia’s now 44-year wait for a homegrown women’s champion, the former world number four reached the fourth round at Melbourne Park twice.

She enjoyed more Grand Slam success outside her homeland, most notably her victory over Serena Williams in the final of the 2011 U.S. Open and finishing runner-up at the French Open a year earlier.

“I’ve done more than I ever thought was possible,” she said. “To do what I dreamed of doing as a little kid was phenomenal and I couldn’t ask for any more.

“I’ve had many great moments here in Australia and around the world. It’s been amazing.”

Pavlyuchenkova, three times a Melbourne Park quarter-finallist, powered down 13 winners in the opening set and eight more in the second to set up a third round tie against Sorana Cirstea.

Stosur received a standing ovation from the crowd at Melbourne Park’s newest show court after Pavlyuchenkova hammered a forehand winner across the net to conclude the contest.

“I had gooesbumps when everyone was clapping for Sam,” said the Russian. “She’s such a great human being and an amazing tennis player.”

The cheers turned to boos when Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley, under fire for his role in the Novak Djokovic saga, made his first public appearance of the week to congratulate Stosur on her singles career.

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