Sam set for Sydney campaign
After several days of productive practice, Sam Stosur is looking forward to another shot at the Sydney International title.
The Sydneysider reached the final at Sydney Olympic Park back in 2005 and the quarters in 2016, and is looking to rebound from a first-round loss in Brisbane to open her 2018 season.
“It wasn’t the worst start to a season I’ve ever had up in Brisbane, but would’ve been nice to have done a little bit better I guess,” Stosur said.
“In the first set I definitely didn’t serve as well as I needed to – in the second my first serve percentage was a lot better and I started to feel like I was getting a few more chances.
“I think (Sevastova) was playing really well. I was in the gym for the cool-down afterwards and she walked in as Josh (Eagle) said something about her serving, and she looked up and gave a smile and said, ‘yeah, I did serve well!’ Even she was happy with it.
“But she’s a quality player, as pretty much everyone is up in that draw, same as here. It’s never going to be easy, but overall I wasn’t too concerned with the way I was playing. I was pretty happy, and got some good practice sessions in while I was there.
“There’s always other things you want to get better at and work on, and hopefully put into play better the next time you get on court – and that’ll be my opportunity here.”
Stosur opens against lucky loser Carina Witthoeft, after having initially been drawn to face surging seventh seed Julia Goerges, who just won in Auckland before withdrawing from Sydney with a knee injury.
And having practised with fellow Aussie Ash Barty and French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko – who is now working with Stosur’s former coach David Taylor – the 33-year-old felt like she was in good touch coming into her second event of 2018.
“The one good thing is I know it’s going to be a good session,” Stosur said of her practice with Ostapenko and Taylor.
“You know it’s going to be intense, there aren’t going to be many breaks, I know the drills. It actually works well.
“I’d never practised with Ostapenko before, but I’ve got the chance to get out there again and practise on Centre Court with a quality practice partner and that familiar feeling as well, just down at the other end of the court instead.”