Seeded Stosur eyes Open quarter-finals - AAP
Sunday January 14, 4:47 PM
Seeded at a grand slam for the first time in her blossoming career, home hope Samantha Stosur has set her sights on matching Alicia Molik's memorable run to the 2005 Australian Open quarter-finals.
Stosur, who opens her campaign on Tuesday against Czech qualifier Klara Zakopalova, is seeded 24th for the season's first major and plans on making the most of her privileged position in the women's draw.
"You know that you're not going to play a top seed first up and that's obviously a good spot to be," Stosur said.
"Every match is going to be tough but I guess you've got to try to take advantage of it when you don't (play a big name).
Nothing less than a repeat of her career-best run to the last 16 at Melbourne Park last January will satisfy the ambitious Queenslander.
"I'd love to get to the same spot as I did last year, hopefully a bit better," Stosur said. "You've just got to go out there and play every match as it comes and hopefully it puts you deep in the second week."
Two years ago, Molik became the first local woman since Anne Minter in 1988 to make the Open quarter-finals.
Stosur, the world No.27, is hoping the Australian crowd support can will her to similar heroics.
"I just really enjoy playing in front of a crowd, especially when they're all cheering for you and clapping everything that you do," Stosur said.
"With everyone behind you, if you are in a sticky situation, they can help pull you out of it.
"I've had my best results here. I don't know if it's the courts or playing in Australia with the crowds behind me or exactly what it is.
"I guess if you want to do well anywhere, it's in your own country."
Scorching temperatures are predicted for Tuesday and Stosur, one of the fittest players on the WTA Tour, couldn't be happier.
"I heard it's going to be 39 degrees. If it gets to that, then that's fine with me," said the 22-year-old Gold Coaster.
"I think I can handle the heat hopefully and, if it's hot, it will probably suit my game a little bit more as well."
Stosur lost to Zakopalova on clay in their only previous meeting in the US two years ago, but the Czech has since plummeted down to 119th in the world.
"And I'm a lot better player than what I was then and I think these conditions and courts are going to suit me," Stosur said.
"So hopefully I can play well enough and get through."
Victory could set up a second-round clash with fellow Australian Sophie Ferguson, who plays American Laura Granville first up.
There are five Australians in action on Monday - day one of the tournament.
Teenage wildcard Jessica Moore faces a daunting Open debut against third-seeded Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova, Casey Dellacqua takes on Slovenia's 21st seed Katarina Srebotnik and Monique Adamczak plays Iroda Tulyaganova of Uzbekistan.
Contesting his final Australian Open, Wayne Arthurs, at 35 the oldest player in the men's draw, meets Austrian Stefan Koubek, while Alun Jones is up against Frenchman Marc Gicquel.
That just shows that sam is ready to take it to the next level & is hungry for success