After her 12th failed attempt, Samantha Stosur is no closer to solving the mystery of why she struggles so badly at Wimbledon.
“I’m pretty annoyed about it, to be honest,” the Australian 17th seed said after a first-round, straight sets loss to unseeded Belgian Yanina Wickmayer.
“I don’t really have an answer … I still think I’m a good enough player to get through first rounds here and for whatever reasons, it’s not happening.”
Stosur’s performance was one of the few disappointments for Australia on the opening day, with first round victories to Bernard Tomic, Marinko Matosevic, Luke Saville, Jarmila Gajdosova and Casey Dellacqua. Sam Groth was the only other loser, in three highly competitive sets. Click on the owl to see all the Australian scores.
Qualifier Saville, 20, produced the biggest surprise, belying his ranking of 236 to upset promising Austrian world No.57 Dominic Thiem 7-5 6-4 3-6 6-4 and set up a second-round showdown with 11th seed Grigor Dimitrov on Wednesday.
Four Australian men will begin their campaigns on Tuesday and two more victories would give the nation its biggest presence in the second round since 1999.
The Stosur mystery
Stosur’s latest bid to replicate her hard and claycourt success on grass lasted little more than an hour as she fell 6-3 6-4 to world No.69 Wickmayer in one of the tournament’s opening matches.
The 30-year-old has never made it past the third round at the All England Club and it is the sixth time she’s fallen at the first hurdle.
Frustratingly for Stosur, she felt she didn’t do too much wrong against her 24-year-old opponent, apart from giving away early breaks in both sets.
“I don’t feel like I played that bad a match,” said Stosur, who smashed 13 aces to 4. “I thought she played very, very well.”
The defeat came just days after Stosur parted company with her coach of seven months Miles Maclagan, but she insisted the “amicable” split had no bearing on the result.
Stosur will begin her search for a new coach to turn around a frustrating season, but she’s in no rush.
Last year she took several months to appoint a successor to her coach of six years, Dave Taylor, and she won’t be picking someone for the sake of it.
“I want to really take my time and think about it and make sure I’m doing the right thing,” Stosur said.
“There’s probably a handful of coaches that you might want to think about. They’ve probably all got jobs.”
Stosur will play in doubles at the All England Club before a three-week break leading into the US hard court season and US Open, the event she won in 2011.
Saville’s spectacular debut
Australian qualifier Luke Saville made a spectacular Wimbledon main draw debut, upsetting highly-rated Austrian Dominic Thiem in the first round.
Former top-ranked junior Saville defied his world ranking of 236 to win 7-5 6-4 3-6 6-4. The triumph over 57th-ranked Thiem is by far the biggest win of 20-year-old Saville’s career.
His only previous grand slam appearance came with a wild card entry at last year’s Australian Open.
Saville, a junior Wimbledon and Australian Open champion, booked his place in the main draw through qualifying, beating top seed Thomaz Bellucci in the first round.
“There’s no doubt I probably haven’t kicked on as much as a lot of people would have hoped, including myself,” Saville said.
“Not everyone can do a Nick Kyrgios or a Bernard Tomic and just burst onto the scene and become top 150 in their first six months out of juniors.
“It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster but I feel like I’m reaping the rewards (of hard work and perseverance) and to qualify and win a round is unbelievable right now.”
He will next face Bulgarian 11th seed Grigor Dimitrov, who defeated American Ryan Harrison 7-6 (7-1) 6-3 6-2.
Bernard Tomic passed his first test with flying colours, comfortably beating Russian Evgeny Donskoy.
The Australian was untroubled in a 6-4 6-3 6-2 win but faces a daunting challenge next in sixth-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych.
Tomic needed only 85 minutes to dispatch 114th-ranked Donskoy in a controlled performance that followed some encouraging build-up form on grass.
The 21-year-old reached the last 16 at Wimbledon last year, but his ranking has plummeted to No.86 after struggling to regain his form since hip surgery in February.
Tomic will likely drop outside the top 100 unless he can upset Berdych, who knocked him out in the fourth round last year.
Berdych opened with a 6-7(7-5) 6-1 6-4 6-3 win over Romanian Victor Hanescu on Monday.
Matosevic topples seed
Tomic was joined in the second round by Marinko Matosevic, who upset 18th-seeded Spaniard Fernando Verdasco 6-4 4-6 6-4 6-2 for only his second grand slam match win from 14 attempts.
Successfully employing a serve-and-volley style encouraged by his coach Mark Woodforde, the Australian world No.58 set up a second-round meeting with either Frenchman Jeremy Chardy or British wildcard Daniel Cox.
It came just a month after Matosevic broke his long-standing duck in major tournaments at the French Open, beating Dustin Brown for his first grand slam match win in 13 attempts.
Dellacqua bounces back
Dellacqua recovered from a poor start to defeat Estonian qualifier Anett Kontaveit 3-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-3, while wildcard Gajdosova beat Switzerland’s Stefanie Voegele 6-3 7-6 (8-6).
“I probably didn’t have my best day but those are the days you’ve got to find a way and I did that,” said Dellacqua, who has reached a career-high ranking of 36.