June 19, 2012
Samantha Stosur misses a return in her defeat to Kirsten Flipkens in Rosmalen. Photo: AP
Samantha Stosur has suffered a big Wimbledon setback with a shock first-round loss to world No.251 Kirsten Flipkens at the WTA lead-up event in the Netherlands.
The Australian top seed fell victim to seven double-faults and nine aces from her opponent in a 7-6 (9-7) 6-3 defeat in her first grasscourt match since an equally inexplicable opening-round loss at Wimbledon last year to world No.262 Melinda Czink.
Stosur's premature exit from the tournament in Rosmalen leaves the US Open champion desperately short of grasscourt match practice before Wimbledon gets underway on Monday.
But the world No.5 put on a brave face after the match and said she was unconcerned.
"Overall, I was quite happy with the way I played. It wasn't really anything disastrous," Stosur said.
"It's just a matter of going out there again tomorrow, practising hard and just fine-tuning a few important points and that can make the difference.
"I don't think I did too much wrong."
Stosur started brightly enough in the match, racing to a 3-0 lead in the first set with a service break in the second game and had two more break points to open up a 4-0 lead.
But after wasting the opportunity, Stosur then missed a sitter of a smash on break point to allow Flipkens back into the match at 3-4 down.
Stosur had another chance to take the set in the 10th game, but snatched at a routine forehand volley and had to battle back from 4-2 in the tiebreaker to stay in it.
Some daring serve-volleying earned Stosur three more set points and she appeared to have nabbed the opening set with her fifth ace.
Alas, even with Flipkens on her way to the changeover apparently conceding the set, the chair umpire over-ruled and the Belgian made the most of her good fortune to take the set after 57 minutes when Stosur was unable to control a low forehand volley.
Stosur unravelled in the second set, a wild double-fault handing Flipkens a break for 2-0 and the lowly-ranked Belgian didn't need a second invitation to wrap up the biggest win of her career in one hour, 35 minutes.
"That was definitely a big moment in that tiebreak and obviously in the end of the match because I really thought I won that set and then you don't win it and you're a set behind," Stosur said.
"You take two steps into the baseline, you pump your firsts and you think you've won the set - especially when she's walking to the changeover as well giving you the point - and the umpire decides that's he's going to over-rule.
"Yeah, it was just a few points here and there throughout that first set. I don't think I did too much wrong.
"I made my set points and on grass sometimes the way it goes."