Melbourne: US Open champion Sam Stosur crashed out in the first round of the Australian Open in straight sets on Tuesday in a huge blow for local fans desperate to end a long drought at the national championship.
Sixth-seeded Stosur lost 7-6 (2), 6-3 to No. 59-ranked Sorana Cirstea of Romania to continue her terrible run at home since beating Serena Williams to capture her first Grand Slam title in New York last September.
Stosur has had one win in three tournaments on home soil in 2012.
She saved three match points while serving to stay in the match but finally lost it when her looping forehand drifted over the baseline to hush the Rod Laver Arena crowd on the second day of the tournament. No Australian has won the national title since Chris O`Neil in 1978.
Stosur`s first-round loss mirrors that of Petra Kvitova, who went out in the first round of last year`s US Open after winning Wimbledon.
"I`m not sure if it`s one of my biggest matches, but it feels like that now," said Cirstea, who had lost both her previous matches against Stosur. "Probably the whole country hates me now."
First Published: Tuesday, January 17, 2012, 12:55