Samantha Stosur is confident she can bounce back from a worrying defeat and keep Australia’s fading Fed Cup dreams alive when she faces top-ranked American Madison Keys in a do-or-die match on Sunday.
Stosur’s history of fragile performances on home soil continued in a disappointing three-set defeat to Christina McHale on Saturday, but with Australia trailing the tie 2-0 there is no absolutely no room for further error.
Australia must win the three remaining rubbers to ensure a return to the eight-nation World Group next year, which would give them a chance at capturing the Fed Cup for the first time since 1974.
That would require an immediate improvement from Stosur as well as Daria Gavrilova, who was monstered in straight sets by world No.22 Keys.
It was a disastrous opening to the tie, particularly given Tennis Australia sunk $100,000 into a temporary clay court at the Tennyson venue to provide Stosur and Gavrilova with a supposed advantage by playing on their favoured surface.
“We’ll do everything we need to do,” Stosur said.
“I’ll be prepared for that match for sure. I’ve got a great team around me.”
Captain Alicia Molik expects Russian-born Gavrilova will be far less nervy when she faces McHale in Sunday’s second match, having gotten an emotional Fed Cup debut for Australia out of the way.
“It’s a different circumstance going out playing her first tie, she was excited, incredibly nervous at the same time, a little bit unsettled,” she said.
“(America’s) confidence is going to be sky high but I think Dasha and Sam can rise to the level.”
Stosur will have to back up from her clash with Keys to partner Casey Dellacqua in what Molik hopes will be a decisive doubles rubber against Coco Vandeweghe and Bethanie Mattek-Sands.
“It is an enormous task for us. But when we get to the doubles – notice I said ‘when’ and not ‘if’ – I have full confidence in our doubles team,” Molik said.