Samantha Stosur is convinced she can be a factor at the Australian Open despite her shock quarter-final exit from the Sydney International.
Lowly-ranked qualifier Monica Puig wept tears of joy after ousting Stosur 6-4 6-4 in a major boilover at Ken Rosewall Arena on Wednesday night.
Puerto Rico’s world No.94 had never taken a set from Stosur in four previous meetings, but was unable to contain her delight after notching one of the biggest wins of her career.
“I’ve been working so hard on every aspect of my game. That’s why I got a bit emotional after this win,” the 24-year-old said.
“I’ve always had great respect for Sam. She’s a grand slam champion.”
Stosur refused to let her surprise loss deflate her, insisting a tough three-set second-round loss to world No.12 Carla Suarez Navarro in Brisbane last week and impressive wins over Daniela Hantuchova and US Open finalist Roberta Vinci in Sydney had her well prepared for the season’s first major.
“Overall I’m feeling good,” Stosur said.
“Look, three good matches is good. Of course you want more and you want to do better and obviously there’s still room for improvement, which is I guess normal for anyone.
“I’ve got a few days now to get down to Melbourne and practise and keep trying to prepare as best I can and try and play better.
“I’ve had a lot of tennis under my belt, which is a really good thing.
“Yeah, I can now go to Melbourne with probably a bit more confidence than I’ve had previous years.”
Stosur has only progressed beyond the third round twice in 14 visits to Melbourne Park – in 2006 and 2010 – and is refusing to publicise her expectations.
But the 31-year-old believes she can cause some damage.
“I’m not going to say I’ll be happy with making third round or found round. I’m also not going to sit here and say I’m going to win the tournament,” Stosur said.
“I still think my best tennis, and when I’m able to do that, I can definitely compete with the best in the world.
“I need to do a lot of things well. I think if I can do that, then, yes, my ability can have a really good tournament.
“Whatever that is, I don’t know.”