Australian veteran Sam Stosur is still hopeful of a strong Australian Open despite suffering the worst preparation for her home grand slam in her career.
The 32-year-old will head to Melbourne without a win in almost five months after bombing out of the first round in both the Brisbane and Sydney warm-up events.
But while she was valiant in defeat against world No.7 Garbine Muguruza last week, she looked badly out of touch the longer her match went against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in Homebush.
She simply had no answers for the world No.27, winning less than half her points on serve and barely getting a look in her opponent’s game.
The former US Open champion meekly bowed out 6-3 6-1 in just over an hour.
“I don’t really know what to say. I don’t feel like I played bad,” she said after the match.
“I don’t feel like I played obviously as well as I can. It was just kind of done, and that was it. It was like one ball, two balls, and it’s kind of over.”
Stosur is no stranger to summer struggles.
Only three times in her past 17 non-grand slam tournaments in Australia has she progressed into the final eight, reaching the semi-finals just once in that period.
And her results don’t improve once in Melbourne, winning through to the round of 16 just twice in 14 attempts, and she was a first-round loser last year.
But Stosur attempted to remain positive ahead of another campaign in Melbourne where she will carry the hopes of a nation in the women’s field.
“I know what I feel like I’m capable of and what I want to achieve. Whether or not I’m flying under the radar or anything, if I win a couple of matches, then I’ll be right there anyway,” she said.
“I can’t be too concerned. It is what it is. You can either look at it and freak out, or (go), ‘Okay, I’ve got a week to keep preparing and do what I need to do.
“I really don’t feel like I’m too far away.
“It’s not ideal to not be playing matches, but I feel like I don’t have to necessarily change too much.”
Earlier on day two, late Australian entrant Arina Rodionova became the first local hope to fall in Homebush after losing her opening match to sixth seed Johanna Konta.
World No.5 Dominka Cibulkova made short work of Laura Siegemund 6-2 6-0, while ninth seed Robert Vinci knocked off qualifier Maria Sakkari 6-4 6-0.