Stosur looks on bright side

FOR all the obstacles littering Sam Stosur’s path to a second consecutive US Open final, one stroke of good fortune is Serena Williams’ presence in the other half of the draw. Stosur is the defending champion, but has hailed Williams as the rightful favourite for the women’s title when the year’s final grand slam starts on Monday.
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“Outside of that first-round loss at the French and a couple of others, she’s been the player to beat all year,” Stosur said from New York.

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“She’s played some flawless tennis throughout the Olympics and Wimbledon, and they’re the biggest events that we’ve had so far going into this. She’s, for sure, the player to beat. You can’t deny that, I don’t think.”

Williams’ recent quarter-final loss to German Angelique Kerber in Cincinnati was her first, and only, stumble in 20 matches since May, and she dropped just 17 games in six matches in a dominant Olympic performance. The 14-time major winner has beaten Stosur in six of their nine career meetings, although the Australian has a 2-1 advantage in slams, including that 6-2, 6-3 triumph in New York last September 11.

Her return match will be against Croatian Petra Martic, the world No.65 who pushed Stosur to a third-set tiebreaker in their only previous match, on clay in Madrid in May.

“That was a very close match,” Stosur said after Thursday’s draw.

“She’s young, she’s got a good game. She does everything well and she’s got a good serve.”

The Australian, who has not won a title since leaving New York almost 12 months ago,  could meet the in-form Li Na or the retiring three-time winner Kim Clijsters in the fourth round, world No.1 Victoria Azarenka in the quarter-finals and either Maria Sharapova or Petra Kvitova — against whom she has a combined 1-14 record — in the semis.

Casey Dellacqua will face a qualifier and Jarmila Gajdosova plays 19th seed Nadia Petrova. Among the men, Bernard Tomic opens against unseeded Argentine Carlos Berlocq and could oppose American Andy Roddick in the second round, while 2001 champion Lleyton Hewitt drew Germany’s world No.92 Tobias Kamke.

Hewitt could then meet 28th seed Mikhail Youzhny for the second time in three weeks, having beaten the Russian in Cincinnati.

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