Samantha Stosur and Sloane Stephens slip on the grass in Wimbledon first round

Tennis - Stosur loses to world no. 69 Yanina Wickmayer while Stephens loses to former top 10 player Kirilenko

by Prakash
Samantha Stosur and Sloane Stephens slip on the grass in Wimbledon first round

Tennis - An Australian with a big serve, a powerful forehand and the ability to volley should have been a big threat on the grass courts of Wimbledon. But somehow, the green stuff has never favoured Australia's top-ranked woman Samantha Stosur.

The 17th seed and former US Open champion failed to pass the first round on Monday as she was beaten by world no. 69 Yanina Wickmayer 4-6, 3-6 in just 69 minutes. As in her previous losses this year, Stosur maintained that she thought she played a decent match but things did not fall her way.

Stosur, who only last week split with her coach, told the press later, “It wasn’t a very good start, for sure. But I actually didn’t feel like, apart from trying to play that little catch up with a break behind, I felt like I was playing quite well.

I served quite well. I thought she played very well. I don’t feel like I played that bad a match to be honest with you.” Stosur will now hope that a return to the hardcourts will bring a change in her fortunes. Wickmayer, who was cheered on by former world no.

1 Kim Clijsters from the stands, said she played one of her best matches of the year. "I felt really confident out there, and tried to really focus on being aggressive from the first point when she served. I tried to be aggressive on the second serves, and when I had the chance I tried to move in and move forward and serve well myself.” Meanwhile, Wickmayer, a former top 20 player who has done little of note in the past couple of seasons, will go on to meet 16-year-old Croatian teenager Ana Konjuh for a place in the third round.

Konjuh needed three sets to beat Kiwi Marina Erakovic 6-3, 4-6, 6-0 for her first win in a Grand Slam event. Stosur was not the only surprise in the early hours of the tournament. 21-year-old Sloane Stephens was also a first-round casualty, ending her streak six Slams in a row where she made the second week.

Stephens, who reached the quaretr-finals here last year, was beaten by former top 10 player Maria Kirilenko. The Russian was ranked in the top 10 here 12 months ago but injury has meant that she is now ranked outside the top 100.

Kirilenko used her versatile game to upset Stephens 6-2, 7-6. Stephens did have her chances in the second set, going up 4-2 in the second set and even having multiple set points in the tiebreaker but the American failed to extend Kirilenko to a third set.

Samantha Stosur Sloane Stephens Yanina Wickmayer