Ostapenko stops Sam at China Open
BEIJING, AAP – Jelena Ostapenko has reopened old wounds for Sam Stosur with a straight-sets second-round win over the Australian at the China Open.
Four months after cruelling Stosur’s French Open hopes, Ostapenko cut short the Australian’s comeback from injury with a 6-3 7-5 victory on Wednesday.
“I feel like it was pretty close. I felt like I was right in the match the whole time, even though I was battling on the scoreboard,” Stosur said.
“It was hard out there. Both of us struggled on serve, but as the match went on I felt as though I was getting better and better and was close to sneaking out that second set.”
While victory secured Ostapenko a spot at this month’s eight-player WTA Finals in Singapore, Stosur must be wondering what might have been had she not suffered with a painful stress fracture against the Latvian in Paris.
The 2010 Roland Garros runner-up raced to a 4-0 lead over Ostapenko in 13 minutes and looked to be steaming towards her fifth French Open quarter-final before disaster struck.
The injury forced Stosur off tour for three months, the Queenslander sitting out Wimbledon and the US Open before finally returning for the Asian swing.
Now ranked 45th, the former world No.4 finally posted her first victory on Monday since Paris – where she was riding an eight-match winning streak on European clay – before running into Ostapenko.
In a fluctuating affair, Ostapenko dropped serve four times but broke Stosur on seven occasions to progress to the third round after one hour and 48 minutes.
“It’s just been good for me to get back out here, it’s been a bonus to be able to get back as quick as I did,” Stosur said.
“Obviously there are some things that still need to get better. My first serve percentage needs to get better and I need to win more points on serve. If I can do that five-to-ten per cent better, that can make a big difference.”
In other early second-round results, Frenchwoman Carolina Garcia beat Belgian Elise Mertens 7-6(4) 6-4, while Stosur’s fellow Australian Ash Barty fell to third seed Elina Svitolina in a night match.