US Open champ Stosur ousted in 1st round

US Open champ Stosur ousted in 1st round

US Open champ Stosur ousted in 1st round

Stosur is not showing good signs ahead of the Australian Open, where she will play in front of her home crowd for the first time in a Grand Slam this year. AFP photo

U.S. Open champion Sam Stosur was bundled out in the first round of the Sydney International in a 6-2, 6-4 loss to Francesca Schiavone yesterday in another setback to her preparations for next week’s Australian Open.

Schiavone beat Stosur in the 2010 French Open final and had little trouble disposing of the local favorite again.

No. 6-ranked Stosur won only one match in Brisbane last week and will be short of match sharpness in Melbourne, where she will chase back-to-back Grand Slam titles following her win over Serena Williams in the U.S. Open final last September.

“You do all the work leading up and you feel OK and then today all of a sudden it’s just like a bombshell hits you,” Stosur said. “The whole emotional side of things really took over.

“Melbourne is coming up and I want to start playing well. Being in Australia and playing in Australia, I want to play the best I can play and do it all here this month.”

Schiavone will next play Brisbane International finalist Daniela Hantuchova, who beat another Italian, Roberta Vinci, 7-5, 6-2.

While Stosur struggled, defending champion Li Na, third-seeded Victoria Azarenka, No. 7 Agnieszka Radwanska and No. 8-seeded Marion Bartoli all advanced to the second round.

Li had a breakout season in 2011, reaching the Australian Open final and then becoming the first player from China to win a major with her title at Roland Garros.

“Last year is over,” Li said. “I don’t have to think about what I did already last year. I mean, everyone has to look forward to see what you should do right now.”