Samantha Stosur Aims to Defend U.S. Open Title: A Fan's Perspective

Yahoo Contributor Network

Back to reality. That's where Samantha Stosur quickly proceeded after her shocking defeat of Serena Williams in the 2011 U.S. Open tennis final.

Rather than launching Stosur's career to the next level, the win has turned out to be a fluke. At least, that's what the Australian's play in the year since her surprising victory has indicated. Despite her recent pitfalls, Stosur remains the defending U.S. Open champion. Now, she's at Flushing Meadows again, hoping she can do the unthinkable and duplicate the memorable run of a year ago.

Stosur entered the 2012 Open as the seventh seed, just two spots better than her #9 ranking at last year's tourney. It would be difficult to argue that she deserved to be seeded any higher. The 2012 campaign got off to a rocky start for Stosur at the season's first major. In front of the home crowd, Stosur found herself on the wrong end of an unexpected result at the Australian Open. Sorana Cirstea of Romania disposed of Stosur in two sets in the first round.

Even a rare bright spot for Stosur this season came to an abrupt halt. After advancing to the semifinal round of the French Open, Stosur was upset by Italian Sara Errani. It was the first time in six tries that Errani had won a match over Stosur. From there, it only got worse for the Australian. Stosur has historically struggled at Wimbledon, a trend that continued with her second-round exit, courtesy of 72nd-ranked Arantxa Rus of the Netherlands. Redemption was absent when Stosur returned to London for the Olympic Games, as she was sent packing in the first round.

Does Stosur have what it takes to win another Grand Slam event? She's only a year removed from the title that showed the world what she's capable of. However, with the win came greater expectations. Some athletes crave pressure, but Stosur has buckled under it. To her credit, she's off to a solid start in the 2012 U.S. Open. Stosur turned in a brilliant performance to kick off the tournament, breezing to a 6-1, 6-1 romp of Petra Martic of Croatia in less than an hour.

As Stosur continues at the Open, she has an opportunity to prove herself once again. The competition won't make it easy, but Stosur must find a way to play with the kind of confidence and skill she displayed last year. She was a champion once, and there's no reason she can't hoist the U.S. Open trophy again.

Aaron Griggs has enjoyed watching tennis for a long time, and began playing the sport when he chose it for a P.E. elective in college.

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