Stosur spurred on by last summer's flop

WILL KNIGHT
Last updated 17:49 06/12/2012

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Sam Stosur believes she'll be better prepared mentally this summer after last year failing to live up to the hype following her US Open title triumph.

Stosur endured a horror time in January amid huge expectations the Queenslander could repeat her Flushing Meadows heroics of 2011 at the Australian Open.

Starting the year as the world No.6, Stosur only reached the second round at the Brisbane International and crashed out in her opening match at the Sydney International the following week.

And then with hopes still strong Stosur could become the first Australian woman since Chris O'Neil in 1978 to win the opening grand slam of the year in Melbourne, she slumped to a straight-sets loss to world No.59 Sorana Cirstea of Romania.

The 28-year-old admits she didn't handle the pressure after returning back home with her US Open trophy.

"I didn't handle it and didn't perform very well at all (in Australia) last year," Stosur conceded in Sydney on Thursday.

"It was really disappointing. If anything, it will spur me on to do better this year."

And even though Stosur failed to win a title, she is relatively satisfied with her efforts that included reaching the final at Doha and Moscow and the semi-finals in four other events, including the French Open.

"I guess there wasn't that one outstanding result like I had the year before," said the world No.9, who will play the Sydney International again in January.

"Overall it was quite a consistent year, but I suppose if you're not holding a trophy at the end of one of those weeks, makes you think it's not quite so good."

Stosur's ranking dropped only three places to end 2012 at No.9 to become the first Australian woman since Wendy Turnbull to finish in the world top 10 in three straight years.

She said she will work with her sports psychologist again this month, but feels she's at her best when keeping things simple.

"There's nothing magical you can change or say or do," said Stosur.

"But it's just a matter of being aware of what's going on and trying to handle it better than what I have in the past.

"If you can keep it as simple as you can, then that will really help me."

As Stosur enters her 14th season on the WTA tour, she feels like the standard has risen significantly in recent years.

"Obviously, there are a couple of standouts," she said.

"You'd have to say Serena (Williams) was the player of the year by far. Then you had the (Victoria) Azarenkas and (Maria) Sharapovas.

"But overall, it's very tight. It's really competitive out there."

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- AAP

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