• French Open, Day 12

Stosur needs to embrace favourite's tag

Jo Carter June 7, 2012
Sam Stosur made 48 unforced errors as she bowed out to Sara Errani © PA Photos

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Errani stuns Stosur

Two years ago, Sam Stosur was the favourite to win her maiden grand slam after beating Jelena Jankovic to reach the final at Roland Garros.

Having seen off four-time champion Justine Henin and world No. 1 Serena Williams en route to the final, Stosur was the heavy favourite to beat surprise finalist Francesca Schiavone. The favourite tag is not one that sits well with Stosur - she was branded a choker after losing that match 6-4 7-6(2).

In her second grand slam final, at the US Open last year, Stosur was the heavy underdog as she took on Williams in New York, only to claim a stunning 6-2 6-3 victory.

Arriving in Melbourne for her home grand slam as a major champion, Stosur froze under the pressure as she became the first women's US Open champion in the Open era to lose in the first round of the Australian Open.

"It definitely surprised me how hamstrung I felt because of all that," Stosur later admitted. "Sometimes you don't play well at the start of the year and it was highlighted for me because I'm an Australian playing in Australia. If it had been a German playing in Australia maybe nobody would have taken any notice."

Into the last four in Paris for the third time in her career, Stosur was once again the favourite to reach the final against surprise semi-finalist Sara Errani, having won all five previous encounters against the Italian.

Having dropped the opening set, she roared back to win the second, but threw it away in the third - a double fault followed by a wild forehand gifted Errani a late break and the Italian made no mistake as she confidently served out the match.

At No. 6 in the world, there are a limited number of players ranked above her. If Stosur is to prove she is not just a one-hit wonder and get her hands on another slam, she is going to have to get used to being the favourite.

The frustration for Stosur is that she has all the weapons - she boasts one of the best serves in the women's game, almost certainly the best second serve, a wicked forehand and is one of the best athletes on the tour.

She may shun the limelight, but until Stosur gets used to the fact that she is one of the best players in the world, that US Open trophy will sit alone on the mantelpiece.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Jo Carter Close
Jo Carter is an assistant editor of ESPN.co.uk