The No.14 seed and 2011 US Open champion Samantha Stosur eased into the second round, cantering to victory over lucky loser Anna Karolina Schmiedlova 6-1, 6 on No.3 Court. On her Wimbledon debut the 18-year-old Slovakian – still a schoolgirl – could not punish the inaccuracies in Stosur’s game, and did not play with the air of one who feels she has a right to be in the match. The showcourt experience will be useful for the world No.119 but she was well beaten in 70 minutes by Stosur, who produced the winning formula of 25 winners to just ten unforced errors.
Nonetheless Stosur will wring every drop of encouragement possible from this win. She dropped out of the top 10 after Roland Garros this month, having held a place there for all but three weeks since March 2010. Moreover in 10 previous visits to Wimbledon she has lost in the first round five times. It is by far her least favourite of the Slams, and grass does not suit her, never having got beyond the third round here. Furthermore she has had a patchy 2013 to date, with a troublesome right calf injury which took its time to clear.
“I’m happy to be in the second round again,” said Stosur. “It was one of my better matches on grass. It’s a good feeling and hopefully a good sign. I didn’t want to take her lightly and I did some research so I did know a few little things about her which I tried to take advantage of, but I focused on my own game. I feel I’ve been moving better. I tried some serve and volleys, tried to do things the way I want to keep playing on grass. I’m a lot more confident on the grass. I’ve been trying to reach this point for a long time. I was able to move on from the French Open and not bring that to the grass. The calf injury has been better for six or seven weeks now. It’s always good to be injury free and of course I’m happy to be back healthy again so that I can just focus on my tennis and play my best.”
Schmiedlova arrived at Wimbledon on a career high ranking of 119 and should progress further having made the main draw through qualifying, albeit as a lucky loser. Still in her last year at Sport Gymnasium high school in Kosice, Slovak Republic, she postponed her final exam to compete at Roland Garros and was rewarded with a first round win over the world No.41 and 2009 US Open semi-finalist Yanina Wickmayer, one of two top 50 wins she has notched up. But Stosur was easily the highest ranked opponent she had ever faced, and the gulf in class was evident.
Stosur strolled on to No.3 Court several minutes after Schmiedlova, with the young Slovakian waiting nervously in her chair. In the very first game the Australian was returning effectively while the debutante was making mistakes, and Stosur came to the net to break at a canter. Stosur was missing the lines, but still forced the double break for 4-1, running Schmiedlova from side to side before coming in to deliver an unanswerable drop shot. A dispirited Schmiedlova could not convert either of two hard-earned break points, and was winning just 13 per cent of points on her second serve, and was broken again to hand over the set in 27 minutes.
At the start of the second Schmiedlova double-faulted for break point, helping Stosur to 2-0. The Slovakian held on, keeping the deficit to that single break, but she could not keep pace with Stosur’s groundstrokes. The Australian took the match at her first opportunity with a forehand down the line.
20:24...But boy, it was a barrow-load of fun. I hope you enjoyed it even half as much as we did. Thank you for all your messages throughout, you've been the glue holding us together as the edges frayed amid the madness. Now if you'll excuse me, it's time for us Brits to raise a toast to Andy Murray and Fred Perry. British sporting legends both.
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