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  • Jason Regan

No regrets as the great Stosur bows out

Australian tennis great Samantha Stosur has ended her singles career with a second-round exit in her record 20th Australian Open appearance at Melbourne Park.

Samantha Stosur of Australia gestures to the crowd as she retires from singles tennis following her second round Women’s singles match against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia on day 4 of the Australian Open at Melbourne Park. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

Stosur's decorated singles career came to an end with an emotional second-round Australian Open defeat at Melbourne Park on Thursday.

The 2011 US Open champion succumbed 6-2 6-2 to Russian 10th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, then received a standing ovation from the Kia Arena crowd before departing teary-eyed after a record-setting 20th Open campaign, the most by any Australian women's tennis player.

The 37-year-old was unable to repeat the heroics of her first-round fightback against American wildcard Robin Anderson as Stosur's career spanning more than two decades and 1063 matches came to a close.

The one-time world No.4 bows out as a modern-day great of Australian tennis. The top-ranked Australian singles player - male or female - for a record 441 consecutive weeks between 2008 and 2017, Stosur was a fixture in the world's top 25 for nine consecutive years.

As such, the Queenslander carried the Open hopes of the nation every summer for more than a decade.

Alas, she was rarely able to produce her finest tennis under the intense glare and pressure, runs to the fourth round in 2006 and 2010 Stosur's best efforts in Melbourne.

Often maligned for her Open flops, Stosur boasts an exceptional record on the Paris clay and Flushing Meadows hard courts.

Conquering Serena Williams, arguably the greatest player of all-time in the 2011 US Open final in New York on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on America, remains Stosur's crowning achievement.

Samantha Stosur of Australia holds the championship trophy after defeating Serena Williams of the US to win the 2011 women's final.

Her love affair with the red dirt of Roland Garros, though, equally defined her largely under-appreciated career.

As well as reaching the 2010 title decider, having knocked out Williams from match point down, three-times champion Justin Henin and fellow former world No.1 Jelena Jankovic in an inspired run to the final, Stosur made the semi-finals in Paris three more times.

"I've done more than I ever thought was possible," Stosur said.
"I dreamed of winning a grand slam so to do what I've done after dreaming as a little kid is phenomenal. I couldn't ask for any more."

If she could, Stosur would have raised the Suzanne Lenglen Cup. A claycourt giant in her pomp, Stosur said that remains her biggest lament, if not quite regret.

"I'd love to go back and win the French," she said.
"But maybe losing that match helped me win the US Open. You don't know.
"Maybe a French Open title would have been nice. Doesn't matter."

It doesn't, for not many players can upstage Serena Williams in a grand slam final and claim that wasn't the biggest win of their career.

Stosur can, the retiring star ranking her epic fourth-round victory over seven-times major winner Henin at Roland Garros in 2010 her best.

"She obviously won quite a few French Opens. She was obviously still a champion of the sport," Stosur said.
"To beat her after losing the first set, that's probably one of the proudest moments I've had."

Stosur walks away as the 22nd highest earner in women's professional tennis history after amassing $27,490,735 in prize money.

Since turning pro back in 1998, Stosur captured six singles titles plus 28 doubles trophies, including seven grand slam crowns.

She reached world No.1 in doubles in 2006 and represented Australia at a record five Olympic Games.

"I've had many great moments here in Australia and around the world," Stosur said.
"So it's been amazing."   


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