Stosur falls in long three set final
January 8, 2004
Gold Coast, January 8 Ė Rising Aussie star Samantha Stosur came agonisingly close to her first WTA title before going down in a three set blockbuster to Swiss Patty Schnyder at the Uncle Tobys Hardcourts today.
In the doubles final second seeds Elena Likhovtseva and and Magdalena Maleeva defeated Italians Maria Elena Camerin and Silvia Farina Elia 6-3 5-7 6-1.
Stosur played near faultless tennis to sweep through the first set 6-1 and seemed destined to become the first ever Australian champion on the Gold Coast. But the second seed soon found her rhythm with a mix of punishing groundstrokes and fine drop shots.
Schnyder broke her opponent for the first time of the match to go ahead 4-2 in the second set, which stayed on serve for the remainder. In the decider both players produced some of the best tennis of the tournament but it was the Swiss who gained the upper hand with a break from 40-0 down in the 11th game before serving out the match 1-6 6-3 7-5 in just under two hours.
It was Stosur's first runner-up finish on the WTA Tour.
Stosur said she played at the top her game in the first set but slowly Schnyder began her to work her out.
"In the first set I just didnít do anything wrong," she said. "I donít think I could have really played that set much better.
"I had some chances in the second set to break her in a few games and didnít get it. The third set was just a bit tough losing that service game from 40-0. That doesnít happen very often and thatís probably the worst time you could ever do it.
"She started working out a little bit where I was serving (as the match wore on). I wanted to serve it out to her backhand on the deuce court and try and get her off the court and opening it up and she started picking it a bit.
"At 6-5 my legs ran out, I thought I was going to collapse. I donít know if it was the nerves but I kind of felt a bit different in that last game when it was coming to an end and I had to do it but didnít. But hopefully I will get used to those kind of situations."
The 20-year-old had no hesitation confirming her attendance here next year, saying she hoped it was a one step at a time process following her 2004 semifinal and this yearís final.
"I guess itís hopefully one step at a time," she said laughing. "Iíll be back, I love playing here so whatever happens Iíll be back and hopefully I can play better and better."
Stosur was a victim of Schnyderís very classy drop shots and said she just couldnít counter them.
"You canít pick them firstly. And then I was trying to run as fast as I could and still couldnít get to them. Obviously thatís a great shot of hers and she definitely uses it at the right time Ė deuce and chances to go break point down and you hit a drop shot like that I mean full credit to her, you couldnít hit it much better."
Looking ahead Stosur said a top 30 ranking by the end of the year was her goal.
"Iíd like to be in the 30s. When you climb up the rankings it gets harder and harder, but thatís the goal. I just want to keep improving and playing well and hopefully it will all fall into place.
"Itís one of those things where youíve got to try and back up and the top players can do that. Iíve got to try and pull myself together now and go out there (at the Medibank International) and play another match and try and get as far into the tournament as possible. Really try and back it up.
"Iím pretty happy with how I held up this week. I had some pretty tough matches so Iím pretty happy but obviously disappointed to lose today."
The runner-up performance by Stosur capped an amazing week in which she defeated four higher ranked players including three seeds.
Schnyder said the victory was no easy feat, but felt great.
"It was tough," she said. "Especially like the beginning she was all over me and I had no chance to break her. It was a really lucky turnaround in the second set. And I well deserved the third set I think.
"Sheís a great player and Iím really happy to win such a difficult match and to win overall. Iím really excited about starting the year like this. Itís always nice to play five matches in a row like this and leave a place as a champion."
The Swiss has now claimed three of her nine titles on Australian soil, including her first ever in Hobart, and was a semifinalist at last yearís Australian Open. She said she was looking forward to the rest of the Aussie summer.
"Itís great," she said of the title. "Iím aiming for ten now so thatís great. Iím having so much fun playing Australia. Itís by far my best continent for titles. I love coming back here and also Melbourne, itís a great Grand Slam."
Schnyder predicted big things for the Australian and compared her power to that of reigning US Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova.
"Sheís playing really good tennis in Australia, but so far she hasnít be able to play constantly good in the States or in Europe, but sheís definitely a very good player.
"She has some unbelievable weapons. I guess sheís going to be around 30 for sure (by the end of the year). She can be even higher (than that) if she maintains her level.
"(She compares to) a really strong player with a powerful arm like Kuznetsova or even Molik with her serve. Sheís got big power in her arm and great acceleration."
Both Stosur and Schnyder will now travel to Sydney to compete in the Tier II Medibank International. Stosur has been awarded a wildcard into the main draw.
stop being such a bitch patty