Samantha Stosur has been eliminated in the first round of the Brisbane International for the fifth time in six years.
The Gold Coast local crashed to a 4-6 6-2 6-2 defeat to Czech world No.139 Marie Bouzkova at Pat Rafter Arena on Tuesday.
The 34-year-old appeared set for a rare victory in Australia after a strong opening set when she responded to being broken in the third game by breaking back twice.
But the 74th-ranked Stosur, who last reached the second round of her home tournament in 2016, fell away when qualifier Bouzkova hit her straps on serve.
Bouzkova was unstoppable in the final two sets, losing just two points on her first serve as wildcard Stosur was left to rue being broken in the opening game of the second set after saving five break points.
“If I was able to hold that game, you never know. Maybe that gave her a bit of a sniff,” she said.
In nine visits to Brisbane, Stosur has not been beyond the second round.
The former US Open champion will contest the Sydney International next week as she continues to tune up for the Australian Open, where she has lost in the first round in her past three attempts.
Under new coach Nick Watkins, Stosur indicated this week she had taken a fresh approach to hardcourt – a lesser preferred surface to clay – in the off-season.
She was unperturbed by her form in the first-round loss as she irons out her game.
“It’s not a total disaster,” she said.
“She played well. I’m still really happy with quite a few things that I did out there and feel like I’ve still taken a step in the right direction.”