Australian Samantha Stosur heads to her US Open title defence without a title since the biggest day of her career almost a year ago.
The world No.6 went out in the quarter-finals of the Cincinnati Masters on Friday, losing 6-2 6-7 (2-7) 6-4 to 64th-ranked Venus Williams in two and a half hours.
Stosur’s next stop will be Flushing Meadows, where the US Open begins on August 27.
“I’m looking forward to going back there,” she said.
“It’s a good feeling to be going into the tournament now I think with a little bit more confidence, which is good. It’s something to look forward to.”
But Stosur, who has lost finals in Osaka and Doha since beating Serena Williams for the grand slam title last September, is still scratching for top form.
“It’s always disappointing to lose when you play a good match like that and you think you’ve done enough almost to win,” Stosur said. “Still, I had three really good matches here and can get confidence and gain a bit of momentum going into New York.”
The Aussie can’t believe how fast time passes.
“It has flown by, to me,” she said. “All of a sudden you get to America and obviously there is that hype and we have the big leadup tournaments. Everyone is talking about the US Open again.
“I feel like it has come by pretty fast. But I’m always going to look forward to going back there the year after you win for sure.”
Stosur has a 4-5 record since playing a French Open semi-final in June and losing to Italian Sara Errani. She reached the 2010 final at Roland Garros, a career best.
“For sure you want to win as many matches as you can,” Stosur said. “You never want to lose. I would have liked to have won some more matches, but I can still start building that confidence.
“It hasn’t been the greatest record, but I haven’t played too many matches, either. I’m just looking at it from the way I’m playing and not thinking about how many I have lost or won.
“It’s just going out there and playing and trying to keep improving the way I’m playing.”
Stosur has suffered her past seven losses to players ranked outside the top 20.