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Stosur eyes return to form in Doha

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Originally published on: 15/02/12 11:35

Samantha Stosur is on a mission.

In Doha this week, for only the second time in her career, the 27-year-old Aussie is determined to recapture the form that took her to her first Grand Slam title at the US Open after several nervy defeats during the Australian swing.

Stosur opens her campaign at the WTA Premier 5 tournament in Qatar against Sorana Cirstea, the very same Romanian responsible for inflicting her early exit at the Australian Open – her third defeat in four matches following earlier surprise losses in Brisbane and Sydney.

As a result, January proved to be a thoroughly unhappy homecoming for the US Open champion, who admitted that she struggled to deal with the pressure of gunning for the Melbourne crown after winning the previous Grand Slam in New York.

It’s safe to say that losses to two players outside the top 50 this year has left Stosur far from satisfied with her form.

“I think I could have had a much better year so far,” she admitted. “You can plan and train and do everything exactly how you want it and sometimes you don’t get the results straight away.”

Stosur went a little way to kick-starting her season on Fed Cup duty last weekend, recording straight sets wins over Timea Bacsinszky and Stefanie Voegele of Switzerland to win back-to-back matches for the first time since October.

“I had a good week at Fed Cup and feel I have things going a bit more after winning my two matches there,” Stosur said. “Hopefully I can continue that this week and the rest of the year.”

The world No.5 reached the main draw in Doha as a qualifier back in 2005 and her second appearance at the tournament could be crucial in helping her recapture her confidence for the season ahead.

Stosur made just one quarter-final, in Dubai, up until the clay season this time last year. And while the upcoming dirt spell is a period that suits her well – the surface favours her heavy spin and devastating kick serve – Stosur’s US Open win underlined her potential on a hard court even though Roland Garros was previously considered her best chance of Grand Slam glory.

She simply needs to get her mind back on track, it seems, and with the relative absence of pressure in Doha this week, plus a winners fee of $385,000 to target, Sam has every opportunity to get back on top.

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