Having broken back into the world’s top 15 for the first time in three years with a French Open semi-final run, Samantha Stosur has no intention of slipping away again.
Stosur wound back the clock at Roland Garros this fortnight, taking down two former finalists as she reached the final four on the red clay of Paris for the fourth time.
But her dream of a second grand slam title – to join her 2011 US Open triumph – was trumped on Friday by the monster groundstrokes of Spanish sensation Garbine Muguruza.
Stosur was blown off the court 6-2 6-4 by the 22-year-old fourth seed, who will face 21-times grand slam champion Serena Williams in Saturday’s final.
But despite the one-sided end to her campaign, Stosur proved with victories over world No.6 Simona Halep and 11th seed Lucie Safarova that she’s far from a spent force.
“Certainly I don’t feel like the tennis I have played is out of myself or something that I’m not able to replicate,” Stosur said.
“I mean, I’ve got to be able to do it, but I certainly feel like I’m able to continue on the form I have showed this week.”
Having started the tournament ranked 24th in the world, Stosur will now climb to 14th – and would’ve cracked the top ten had she downed Muguruza.
The rankings rise puts her in the box seat to get a top-16 seeding at Wimbledon later this month – and the fourth-round protection, where she cannot face one of the top eight seeds until the fourth round, it affords her.
Stosur will now turn her attention to the Eastbourne International, which starts on June 19.
“It’s been a really great (fortnight at) Roland Garros for me,” Stosur said.
“Semis is something I’m really proud of, and it’s also really satisfying knowing that I had a really good leadup to here and then I was able to continue that form right through.”
From the outset on Friday, Stosur was outmatched, with Muguruza breaking the 32-year-old twice as she raced to a 4-0 first-set lead in a mere 18 minutes.
Her serve – which had proved invaluable in victory over Safarova and Halep – also faltered at crucial times as Stosur on three occasions double-faulted to hand breaks to her young rival.
But ultimately it was simply a dominant performance from Muguruza which proved the difference, with the Spaniard smashing 20 winners and pressuring Stosur into 22 forced and 20 unforced errors.
“I didn’t serve enough good serve percentage today, but I was trying to go after it,” Stosur said.
“It was really cold and you didn’t feel like you were getting a lot pop, so I really had to try and do something.
“Otherwise I knew she was going to swing away and dictate, which unfortunately she still was able to do for most of the match.”
HOW THE AUSTRALIANS FARED ON DAY TWELVE OF THE FRENCH OPEN (PREFIX DENOTES SEEDING):
Women’s singles, semi-final
21-Samantha Stosur lost to 4-Garbine Muguruza (ESP) 6-2 6-4