WHAT HAPPENED: The 2011 US Open champion Samantha Stosur put a first-round exit from the tournament last year behind her, as the Australian veteran looked to be in fine form in breezing past young American hopeful Lauren Davis, 6-1, 6-4, in a first-round match on Tuesday.
In the opening match on Grandstand on the second day of the tournament, the 30-year-old Stosur outplayed the less experienced Davis, 20, who was competing in her third Open. Known for having one of the biggest serves on tour, Stosur came out full speed ahead. The Aussie often kicked serves out wide on the ad-court to Davis’ backhand, immediately putting her opponent on the defensive. That combined with offensive play and heavy topspin ground strokes pushed Stosur to a quick 6-1 set.
Davis, who had her best Grand Slam showings this year by reaching the third round at Wimbledon and the Australian Open, could not keep up with Stosur’s ability to mix up the pace and strike heavy spins.
At the start of the second set, both women played somewhat streaky tennis. After losing her serve at 1-2, Davis found her groove and broke right back. She started getting more of her serves in, which enabled easy put-away shots. But Stosur did not abandon her aggressive game plan. Serving for the match at 5-4, Stosur hit some of her biggest serves that earned her the match. She did not double fault once in the 77-minute match.
"It's like playing at home here," said Stosur in an on-court interview after her win. "It was a good first match. I had to play my best tennis."
WHAT IT MEANS: Although Stosur has won only two WTA singles titles since her 2011 US Open crown, she has played some of her best tennis this summer. Just last week, she beat Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard of Canada, 6-2, 6-2, at the Connecticut Open. And earlier in July, she won her second Wimbledon mixed doubles title alongside Serbian double specialist Nenad Zimonjic. Stoser improved to 2-0 against Davis following a win at the 2011 Australian Open, where crowd favorite Stosur crushed Davis, 6-1, 6-1. Stosur awaits the winner of France’s Pauline Parmentier and Kaia Kanepi of Estonia.
THE QUESTION: Given Stosur could play two-time defending champion Serena Williams in the fourth round, how big of a dent can Stosur make in the women’s draw?