at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
Dubai – Samantha Stosur's season of woe continued at the Dubai Championships when she crashed out in the quarterfinals following a 6-2 6-4 defeat by Italian Roberta Vinci on Thursday.
The Australian has lost more matches than she has won this year, with her win-loss record standing at 5-7, after she produced an error-strewn performance under the searing desert sun that left her frequently yelling in frustration.
Vinci, 30, broke in the opening game and was always in control against a player who has failed to win a title since triumphing at the U.S. Open in September 2011.
The Italian has now beaten top-10 ranked players in successive matches – she defeated Angelique Kerber on Wednesday – and has yet to drop a set in Dubai.
World No 9 Stosur towered over the diminutive Vinci, but she was guilty of trying to be too aggressive, clubbing a succession of backhand returns into the net.
Vinci, part of world No.1 doubles pairing along with compatriot Sara Errani, is a percentage player, relying more on her opponent's mistakes than going for winners herself and Stosur's approach played into the Italian's hands.
Serving at 4-2 down, Stosur ran to the net but Vinci, world No.17, played an angled backhand dropshot winner for a break point.
The Italian duly converted after Stosur, backpedalling from the net, hit a smash long. Stosur then surrendered the set with another errant backhand.
The Australian broke for the first time early in the second set as Vinci played a forehand long and also changed tactics, slowing the game down and matching Vinci's backhand slice.
But the Italian responded with an immediate break back, taking Stosur to deuce before the latter struck successive forehands wide.
Stosur was frequently left stranded in mid-court, either arriving too late to block off Vinci's passing shots or coming forward too soon and allowing herself to be lobbed.
The Italian broke again for a 4-3 lead after another Stosur error and served out the match.
Vinci will now her friend Errani or Russian Nadia Petrova in Friday's semifinal. – Reuters