The most miserable summer of Samantha Stosur’s 15-year career is over following another forgettable first-round Australian Open loss in Melbourne.
Britain’s Heather Watson sent the Australian packing yesterday with a rollercoaster 6-2 3-6 6-0 victory, the win also consigning Stosur to her ninth successive defeat since the US Open five months ago.
Stosur’s latest flop followed first-round exits in Brisbane and Sydney and left the one-time grand slam champion winless over an Australian summer for the first time since her Melbourne Park debut as a teenager in 2002.
Stosur made a confident enough start, showing great speed and touch to mow down a crosscourt drop and flick a backhand lob winner over Watson’s head on the way to breaking the Brit in the second game.
But she lost six of the next seven games in an all-too-familiar collapse to drop the first set in the blink of an eye.
Stosur again broke Watson early in the second to go 2-0 up before surviving a marathon seventh game in which she saved a series of break points to surge to 5-2.
The hold proved pivotal as she closed out the second set with a signature one-two punch, pounding a serve wide and delivering an off-forehand winner to draw back on level terms.
Alas for Stosur, she lost a series of epic games in the deciding set to bow out after two hours and 15 minutes.
‘‘I had a slow start in both the first two sets, so I wanted to get off to a good start (in the third),’’ Watson said.
‘‘I wanted to make her work for everything — and I did.’’