Stosur ready to shoulder the load in Brisbane
TENNIS: Sam Stosur says she has beaten a right shoulder injury and is ready for her Brisbane International showdown with French Open champion Garbine Muguruza on Monday.
A French Open semi-final match-up from June has become a Pat Rafter Arena first-round encounter after a draw that delivered an immediate strong test of Stosur's shoulder niggle.
The Australian No.1 had strapping across her shoulder at practice on Friday, but had less of it on Saturday.
"I've done everything I can to be ready in some great practice sessions since I've been in Brisbane,” said unseeded Stosur, ranked No.21 in the world.
"You always have some little niggles going around, but I feel like I've got on top of it the past few days. I'll probably continue to tape my shoulder in the match but it's feeling better.”
Neither woman won many matches in the second half of the season, and Stosur lost her last six of the year. The woman who handles nerves better in their season-opener in testing heat will be grateful.
Muguruza was ranked as high as No.2 in June but is now No.7 after only reaching one tour semi-final following her wins over Stosur and Serena Williams on the way to the title in Paris.
"The two times I've played her were on clay and I struggled with her weight of ball in some cool conditions in the French Open semi,” said Stosur, who has won just four matches in six previous campaigns in Brisbane.
"It won't be easy for me but I don't necessarily think it will be easy for her either. I will give it all I have and that's all I can do.”
Australian teen Destanee Aiava, meanwhile, powered into the main draw of the tournament with a straight-sets qualifying victory over German Carina Witthoeft on Sunday.
The Melbourne-born and raised 16-year-old had little trouble coping with the extreme temperatures at the Queensland Tennis Centre to cruise through 6-1 6-1.