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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Australian Open: Hawk-Eye: The Slap that Snapped Stosur

The first two days of the 2012 Australian Open have seen some blockbuster match-ups. It seemed an army of unseeded hopefuls were ready and willing to unleash on their ranked opponents, playing some inspired tennis from the start to finish.

While it looked as though Bethanie Mattek-Sands would be the first player to prevail in an upset, the problem-solving Agnieska Radwanska found the grit to sneak through. After dropping a roller coaster first set 12-10 in a tiebreaker, the eight seed Pole turned on the heat against her American adversary whose groundstrokes began to miss their mark. Mattek-Sands earned a terrifying 81 winners in the three hour contest, but it was Radwanska's consistency and back-boarding which resulted in victory.

Sorana Cirstea urges herself on against Stosur.
Photo by Getty Images
Who, then, would be the first big name to say goodbye to Oz? A fiery Christina McHale toppled 24 seed Lucie Safarova, starting what would be a day of nail-biters and blowouts. The big-hitting lefty never seemed to find her rhythm and McHale looked sharp, but while she exited the stadium, an even bigger story was about to unfold: the defeat of home favorite, Samantha Stosur.

Despite her success in Paris and New York, Stosur has failed to advance beyond the fourth round of the Australian Open in nine attempts. Now, on try number 10, the Aussie suffered her third first round loss in Melbourne, this time to a surging Sorana Cirstea.

While Stosur's error-prone backhand was the match's biggest lowlight, it was Cirstea's gutsy returns which lit-up the crowd, despite their countrywoman's misfortune.

This post's Hawk-Eye point goes to Sorana Cirsrea, who broke Stosur to solidify her place in the second round. After losing to opportunities to close the match, Cirstea hammering an electric forehand up the line to fend-off Stosur's game point, leveling at deuce and moving on to convert her next match point. Check out the slap that snapped Stosur at 11:41 in these match highlights:


-Kedzie Teller, Senior Editor


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