Stosur! Come on!
Australian tennis is suffering a bad dose of the doldrums. After Lleyton Hewitt crashed out of the Australian Open on Tuesday night, it appeared the Aussies would fall over like flies.
But as we despaired over our poor form in recent Grand Slams, Bernard Tomic and Sam Stosur gave Australian tennis an almighty shot in the arm and boosted the Melbourne Park crowd. It now has something decent to cheer about.
Tomic, who snuck into the Australian Open draw with a lucky wildcard, will turn heads when he takes on world No. 1 Rafael Nadal in the third round.
Nadal will thrash the living daylights out of Tomic. No doubt about it. But does Tomic, an 18-year-old Queenslander, have what it takes to grab a few games from the Spaniard? Or maybe snatch a break of serve from the superstar?
While many thought Tomic was granted a free ride into the main draw (after pulling out of the Open’s qualifying tournament), it remains to be seen if he has the character to take on the big guns of tennis.
Is Tomic our next star in the calibre of a Rafter or a Hewitt? Tomic, ranked a lowly 199, is talented but does he have the maturity – and will – to reach major finals and boost his world ranking?
His third-round showdown against Rafa will reveal more about the promising teen. Tomic will be looking to lift his game to Rafa’s level and get some serious exposure against one of the greatest modern-day players.
In the meantime, Aussie fans are desperate to see Sam Stosur repeat her heroics at last year’s French Open, where she surprised tennis’s elite and qualified for the Grand Slam final.
Can Stosur go one step further this year? Stosur, the fifth seed, is red-hot and striking the ball with precision. She is the only Aussie to have earned a seeding this tournament. What does that say about the state of Australian tennis?
Despite Australia’s woes, Stosur will be carrying the hopes of the nation, as passionate fans back her dream to win an Australian Open finals’ berth.
Can Stosur lift under pressure and perform before the patriotic crowd in Rod Laver Arena? Organisers certainly hope so. Stosur is strongly placed to win her next two rounds but then, she may face Russian Vera Zvonareva – the Open’s No. 2 seed.
Stosur is Australia’s bright spark in this Grand Slam and if she qualifies for the final, it will inspire younger players who need world-class role models.
C’mon Aussies – how about showing us a bit of that magic we’re famous for?
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