Samantha Stosur’s Melbourne Park malaise remains as debilitating as ever, with the veteran jolted from the Australian Open in straight sets.
Stosur added another chapter to her miserable record at home on Monday night, losing 6-4 7-6 (8-6) to Czech qualifier Kristyna Pliskova.
Fourth-round finishes in 2006 and 2010 remain Stosur’s best results in her home grand slam.
At age 31 that is unlikely to change for the 2011 US Open champion.
Certainly on Monday night’s evidence, when Stosur fought for one hour and 43 minutes but couldn’t push the match to a third set.
Not since 2012 has Stosur exited the Melbourne tournament without winning a set.
“Obviously I’m really disappointed not to get through. I was behind pretty much the whole match,” Stosur said.
“It was great I was able to turn it around (in the second set and force a tiebreak) but I stuffed it up with a couple of errors.”
Stosur was seeded 25th and fully expected to account for Pliskova.
Pliskova is ranked No.114 in the world and has played second fiddle to twin sister and world No.12 Karolina throughout her time on the WTA circuit.
“It was the biggest match of my career,” Pliskova said, admitting she was bothered by a leg injury in the contest.
Stosur started her 14th Australian Open as the top-ranked local hope in the women’s draw, as has been the case so many times.
Unfortunately for the Queenslander it wasn’t the only repetitive element of her campaign.
Stosur broke back twice in the second set, most notably when Pliskova was serving for the match at 5-4.
The comeback continued.
Stosur had two set points but failed to convert either, with Pliskova holding serve to push the set to a tiebreaker.
Pliskova took control of the contest thanks to her powerful serve and fittingly it was the 23-year-old’s 10th ace that finished the match.
Pliskova smacked Stosur in the face with her serve and sent down two aces in the tiebreak.
STOSUR’S STRUGGLES AT MELBOURNE PARK
1st round exit: 2016, 2012, 2005, 2002
2nd round exit: 2015, 2013, 2007, 2004
3rd round exit: 2014, 2011, 2009, 2003
4th round exit: 2010, 2006.