Samantha Stosur gave up a break in the final set to crash out of her home tournament early again, falling to world No.7 Garbine Muguruza in three captivating sets at the Brisbane International.
In a replay of last year’s French Open semi-final, Stosur fought back superbly on Monday after losing the opening set to gain control, only to lose it again against the fourth-seeded Spaniard.
While the Queenslander has regularly failed to deliver at her home tournament, never passing the second round in seven visits, she delivered one of her better performances in falling 7-5 6-7 (2-7) 7-5.
But adding to her frustrations of a third first-round exit at Pat Rafter Arena will be the way she succumbed after being poised for victory at 4-2 up in the third.
A jittery service game allowed Muguruza to break back and then level, before showing superior composure to close out the match in two hours and 45 minutes.
Stosur cursed after she hit a simple forehand passing shot into the net on match point – continuing a seven-match losing singles streak stretching back to the second round of the US Open.
The 32-year-old, the oldest player in the tournament, could also rue missing three set points in the opener, as the French Open champion went on to reel off eight of the next nine points.
Stosur called for new coach Josh Eagle at the break and the advice seemed to work as she upped her aggression and went on to dominate the second-set tiebreaker and then broke immediately in the third.
Muguruza was highly relieved after scrapping her way back into the high-quality match.
“We played for almost three hours – it was a very, very tough match,” she said.
Muguruza’s victory continues the success of the women’s seeds on day two of the tournament. Svetlana Kutznetsova, Roberta Vinci and Elina Svitolina also enjoyed first-round wins.
Sixth-seeded Ukrainian Svitolina, the only player to beat both world No.1s Serena Williams and Angelique Kerber last year, cruised past Olympic champion Monica Puig 6-3 6-3 to set up a second-round clash with American Shelby Rogers.
World No.9 Kutznesova also had little trouble in swatting aside American Louisa Chirico 6-2 6-4, while Italian Vinci was made to work all the way by qualifying lucky loser Kateryna Bondarenko 7-6 (7-4) 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-5).
American qualifier Asia Mohammed upset Croatian wildcard Donna Vekic 7-6 (7-5) 6-1.