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Doha contender: Sam Stosur

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Originally published on: 21/10/10 10:13

Age: 26 (March 30 1984)
Birthplace: Brisbane, Australia
WTA ranking: No.8
Qualified: 6th
Season best: Winner – Charleston Runner-Up – Stuttgart, Roland Garros
Season win/loss record: 45-17
Prize money (2010): $1,790,340
Record vs. top eight: Caroline Wozniacki 2-2; Vera Zvonareva 5-2; Kim Clijsters 0-4; Francesca Schiavone 4-2; Jelena Jankovic 2-3; Elena Dementieva 2-4; Victoria Azarenka 0-4
2010 Grand Slam record: Australian Open R16; Roland Garros RU; Wimbledon R128; US Open QF
WTA Championship best: Making first singles appearance; doubles champion in 2005 and 2006

Season review: Formally recognised as a doubles specialist, the Australian has made huge strides in singles and after three final appearances this year – one of those at a Grand Slam – she is now firmly established in the top 10.

Stosur had a real breakthrough on the singles circuit last year, converting from a solid top 50 player to a prospering top 20 competitor. But come 2010, Stosur had a chance to fully assert herself among the world’s elite, and she duly did.

The former doubles world No.1 made a positive start to the season, reaching the last 16 of her home slam before she was taken out in clinical fashion by eventual-champ Serena Williams.

Consistency had long been a problem for the girl from the Gold Coast, but from March onwards the Aussie found her groove. She made the semis in Indian Wells and the quarters in Miami, with the latter including impressive victories over Vera Zvonareva and Jelena Jankovic.

In Charleston, Stosur proved her worth on clay, securing her second career singles title after defeating Zvonareva 6-0 6-3.

The winning momentum on the red stuff continued in Stuttgart, where she reached the final before losing to Justine Henin, following up with a quarter-final run at the ‘Magic Box’ in Madrid.

With queen of clay Henin struggling to hit top gear, Stosur was a decent bet for the French Open title, especially after making the last four in 2009. But the draw was far from kind, with four-time champ Justine Henin her fourth round opponent. But though the Belgian was on a 24-match winning streak at Roland Garros, the Aussie proved unfazed, finishing off the former world No.1 2-6 6-1 6-4.

Serena Williams was her quarter-final test, but once again Stosur held firm, defeating the 2002 champ 6-2 6-7(2) 8-6. After those tests, you could forgive her for flagging in the semis, but instead Stosur romped to a 6-1 6-2 victory over Jelena Jankovic.

In the final, with the pressure loaded on the 26-year-old, Stosur was unable to clinch a maiden Grand Slam singles title as 17th seed Francesca Schiavone sealed a surprise 6-4 7-6(2) triumph.

Stosur got straight back to it on her least favourite surface, making the semi-finals on the grass of Eastbourne. She hurried through the rest of the grass season, slumping out of Wimbledon in round one to eventual quarter-finalist Kaia Kanepi.

Back on the hard courts, her consistency returned, and Stosur notched up solid results in Stanford, San Diego and New Haven, where she reached at least the quarter-finals in all three.

Come the US Open, Stosur was again considered an outside bet, and though she survived a scare against Elena Vesnina in the first round, her game began to flow. After coming through a tight three-setter with Elena Dementieva, she was eventually stopped by Kim Clijsters in a terrific match on Arthur Ashe.

The run sealed her a spot in her first end-of-season championships as a singles competitor, before her recent quarter-final loss to 40-year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm in Osaka.

Last year’s WTA Championships:
DNP

Stosur on Doha:
“I’m thrilled to make the WTA Championships in Doha,” said Stosur. “I’ve been there a few times for doubles, so to qualify in singles is very exciting. It’s always been a goal of mine to achieve this. It’s a privilege for me to compete against the best in the world.”

Chances:
Twice a winner in the doubles (with Lisa Raymond), Stosur will have to go it alone in her attempts to add to that collection. Despite slumping at the end of the season, the Aussie is sure to raise her game again and get back to the consistent level that has brought her such success in 2010.

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