Samantha Stosur’s late-season struggles have continued with a straight-sets loss in her opening match at the Elite Trophy event in Zhuhai.
Stosur went down 6-4 6-2 to British top seed Johanna Konta on Wednesday night and must beat Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia in her second round-robin match to have any hope of making the semi-finals.
Australia’s world No.20 remains winless since the US Open in September, having lost her previous three first-round matches during a disappointing Asian swing.
New coach Josh Eagle was on hand as Stosur dropped serve four times in the defeat to the world No.10.
After assisting Stosur in August, Eagle has agreed to work permanently with the former grand slam champion in 2017.
Australia’s former Davis Cup coach, Eagle is Stosur’s third appointment since splitting with long-time mentor David Taylor following the 32-year-old’s charge to the French Open semi-finals in June.
She trialled Andrew Robertson during the grasscourt season before turning to former doubles partner and good friend Rennae Stubbs for her past three tournaments in Asia.
Stosur said she appreciated Eagle’s style and the fact her fellow Queenslander gelled well with the existing members of her entourage.
“It will be almost fulltime (next year with Josh). He’s got a young son and can’t do everything,” Stosur said.
“For the most part he’ll be able to travel.
“We’ve only done a month – through Cincinnati and the US Open. So it’s all pretty new. But I liked what he thought about my game and his ideas to get me playing my best tennis again.
“He’s really positive and really motivating.”
Earlier, Switzerland’s Timea Bacsinszky beat Hungarian Timea Babos 6-4 6-2.