Samantha Stosur’s award-winning singles career has come to an end after a second round defeat at her farewell Australian Open at Melbourne Park.
The 2011 US Open champion lost 6-2 6-2 to Russian tenth seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova on Thursday.
Stosur received a standing ovation from the crowd at the Kia Arena before leaving after a record 20th Open campaign, the most by an Australian women’s tennis player.
Still alive in doubles, Stosur had extended her retirement in singles with a smashing first-round comeback win over American wildcard Robin Anderson on Tuesday.
But the 37-year-old was unable to repeat the exploits against last year’s French Open runner-up, Stosur’s 1,063rd game in a career spanning more than two decades that lasted just 68 minutes.
The one-time number 4 in the world ends up as a modern great of Australian tennis.
Stosur was the top-ranked Australian singles player – male or female – for a record 441 consecutive weeks between 2008 and 2017, Stosur was a fixture in the world’s top 25 for nine consecutive years.
As such, the Queenslander wore the nation’s Open hope every summer for over a decade.
Unfortunately, she was rarely able to produce her best tennis under the intense brilliance and pressure, running to the fourth round in 2006 and 2010 Stosur’s best efforts in Melbourne.
Fittingly but somewhat ironically, the last two wins of Stosur’s grand career were for her home fans at Melbourne Park – a year apart against compatriot Destanee Aiava at the 2021 Open and Anderson this week.
Stosur is often reviled for her Open flops and has an exceptional record on the clay courts of Paris and Flushing Meadows.
Capturing Serena Williams, arguably the greatest player of all time in the 2011 US Open final in New York on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on America, remains Stosur’s crowning achievement.
However, her love affair with Roland Garros’ red soil also defined her largely underrated career.
Stosur didn’t just reach the 2010 title decider, having knocked out Williams, three-time champion Justin Henin and fellow ex-world No.1 Jelena Jankovic in an inspired run to the final, and made it to the semi-finals in Paris three more times.
She was a gravel giant at the height of her career and it is Stosur’s biggest lament, if not regret, that she never got her hands on the Suzanne-Lenglen Cup.
Stosur walks away as the 22nd highest earner in the history of women’s professional tennis after collecting $27,490,735 in prize money.
Since turning pro in 1998, Stosur has won six singles titles plus 28 doubles trophies, including seven grand slam crowns.
She reached the world No. 1 in doubles in 2006 and has represented Australia in a record five Olympics.
“I’ve done more than I ever thought possible,” Stosur said. “I dreamed of winning a grand slam, so to do what I did after dreaming as a little kid is phenomenal. I couldn’t ask for more.
“I’ve had a lot of great moments here in Australia and around the world, so it was great.”