Indian Wells: It is said that lightning very rarely strikes twice in the same place but Australia`s Sam Stosur hopes she can replicate her stunning US Open success of last year in another Grand Slam final.
A heavy underdog against 13-time grand slam champion Serena Williams, Stosur upset the odds with an emphatic 6-2, 6-3 win on the American`s stomping ground at Flushing Meadows in September.
That long-awaited singles triumph in one of the sport`s blue riband events gave the attack-minded Australian a significant boost in self-belief, the conviction that she can repeat the feat if given another opportunity.
"I know exactly what it feels like to win (a grand slam)," Stosur said while preparing for the elite Indian Wells WTA tournament in the California desert.
"I made the (2010) French Open final but didn`t play as well as I wanted to there, I kind of didn`t get the whole thing going there but I got close.”
"And then to actually step over that line and win a grand slam makes me realise it is possible for it to be done again. I`ve done it once. You know what it feels like, you know what you`ve to go through, how you`re going to feel and react to certain things that go on."
Previously better known as a doubles player with a booming serve and a powerful forehand, Stosur has taken great delight in her growing status among her peers.
"Any time a player wins a tournament like the US Open, for sure your peers give you a little more respect," she smiled. "They think: `Oh wow, that particular player I always knew they maybe had the potential and now they`ve done it.`”
"I don`t think many people gave me much of a chance to win. I understand that and for sure Serena was the favourite but our head-to-head record actually wasn`t too bad.”
"I`d had a really good tournament leading up to that final and I was full of confidence so I was really excited to have that kind of opportunity against an opponent like her."
Stosur beat three former world number ones, including Serena Williams, to reach her first grand slam singles final at the 2010 French Open where she lost 6-4, 7-6 to Italy`s Francesca Schiavone.
Disappointed though she was to fall at the last hurdle at Roland Garros, the Australian learned from that experience in the best possible way a little more than a year later in New York.
"Because you do it once, it doesn`t mean it`s going to happen again ... but once you have ticked that box, you have solidified that you can do it," Stosur said of her maiden grand slam crown.
Stosur has made an erratic start to her 2012 campaign, advancing no further than the second round in Brisbane, Sydney and at the Australian Open in January before finishing runner-up in Doha last month and then reaching the last eight in Dubai.
"That first month was very disappointing," said the 27-year-old from Brisbane. "I certainly wasn`t playing the way I know I am capable of and the way that I wanted to."
Stosur conceded she had succumbed to the weight of expectation in her homeland because of her lofty status as the reigning US Open champion.
"Outside things get hold of you, you get nervous and the expectation and wanting to perform then and there probably took over from anything that I was actually able to do," she said.
"It was very, very disappointing but the thing that I am happy with is that I was able to leave there, play FedCup, get through two matches, win those and then make the final at Doha.
"So it`s been a bit of a mix but I`m happy with the way my season is going at the moment."
Stosur, seeded sixth at Indian Wells, makes her first appearance in the singles draw when she takes on American wild card Irina Falconi in the second round on Saturday.