Reunited with star coach and it feels so good for Sam Stosur
SAM Stosur must be wondering why she ever split with long-time coach Dave Taylor.
The former US Open champion, who won her only grand slam title in New York in 2011, decided to part ways with Taylor in 2013 after being unable to recapture the form she displayed in dispatching Serena Williams to lift the title at Flushing Meadows.
But in a last-ditch bid to return to the winner's circle, the 31-year-old reunited with Taylor last month, and the move paid off when she claimed her seventh career title, beating Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic 3-6 6-2 6-3 in the final of the Strasbourg International.
Stosur was playing the tournament on a wildcard, and said she was thrilled with the result on the eve of the French Open where she has enjoyed considerable success.
"It was a last-minute decision to come here, so to play as well as I did and walk away with the title, it's exciting and especially going into a grand slam," she said.
"It's been a really good week for me in Strasbourg."
The win was Stosur's second on clay, the previous success coming in Charleston in 2010. That year she went on to make her first grand slam final at Roland Garros, losing to Italian Francesca Schiavone.
Stosur has drawn American Madison Brengle in her first-round match tonight.
A win in that game would pit the Queenslander against the winner of the first-round match between fellow Aussie Jarmila Gajdosova and French wildcard Amandine Hesse. Stosur's first major hurdle would arrive in the third round in the shape of No.3 seed Maria Sharapova.
The four other Australian women in the singles draw - Olivia Rogowska, Casey Dellacqua, Ajla Tomljanovic and Daria Gavrilova - are all in the same quarter of the draw, with Rogowska the only one of the group in action last night. She came up against Slovakia's Magdalena Rybarikova.
Six Aussie men also made the main draw. Thanasi Kokkinakis, down to a career-high ranking of 85 after last week's win in a Challenger tournament, was given a wildcard and faces Georgian qualifier Nikoloz Basilashvili in his first-round match. Bernard Tomic comes up against Italian qualifier Luca Vanni, Nick Kyrgios has drawn unseeded Uzbek Denis Istomin and James Duckworth faces Italian qualifier Andrea Arnaboldi.
Sam Groth and Marinko Matosevic are in the other half of the draw. Matosevic has drawn Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci, while Groth will face Uruguay's Pablo Cuevas.
Nine-time men's champion Rafael Nadal will open his campaign for a 10th French Open crown when he takes on French wildcard Quentin Halys in the first round.
Nadal has an astonishing 66-1 record at Roland Garros, his only loss coming against Robin Soderling in 2009.
- APN SPORTS BUREAU