Stosur flicks switch to make Hobart semifinals
Sam Stosur has finally flicked the switch, steaming into her first semi-final on home soil since 2005 and declaring her run the perfect confidence-booster for the Australian Open.
The top seeded Australian put together her most complete performance in six matches this season for a 6-3 6-2 quarter-final thumping of Serbian world No.34 Bojana Jovanovski at the Hobart International.
In doing so, the former world No.4 reached the second-last round in Australia for the first time since she made semis on the Gold Coast and in Sydney nine years ago.
"There's no better confidence boost for someone than winning matches," Stosur said.
"You can be practising and hitting the ball great but when it comes down to these matches, that's where it counts.
"That's something I haven't been able to do in recent previous years here.
"Now to come here and know I've won at least three matches this week, that's a great feeling going into a grand slam."
The 2011 US Open champion has been desperate to better her second-round exit at her home major last year, and her best effort in Melbourne of the fourth rounds in 2006 and 2010.
She said her game could still get better ahead of the Open starting next week.
"I still think I can play better than what I am, so I guess that's also an exciting prospect," she said.
"Everything's moving in the right direction, that's for sure, but I do think there's still room for improvement."
Now the world No.17, Stosur had barely scraped into the quarters, needing third-set tiebreakers to down her early opponents after losing all three matches at the Hopman Cup.
But she rediscovered her rhythm on serve, winning 72 per cent of points from her first serve, and largely eliminated the unforced errors that had threatened her Open preparations.
A superb serve down the T completed an emphatic victory over Jovanovski, who made the Open's fourth round last year, in an hour and 12 minutes.
The 29-year-old said the ruthless nature of her disposal of Jovanovski had been pleasing.
"It's just nice to know that you've been able to finish a match off and play well from start to finish rather than playing well, having a bit of a dip and going a bit up and down," she said.
Stosur declared a shake-up of her early season a success, provisionally at least, after ditching Brisbane and Sydney to play for Australia in Perth and at the low-key Hobart event.
"I don't see any reason to doubt what I've done," she said.
"I'm really pleased with the decision.
"Already to have six matches under my belt's been fantastic.
"I guess you only see the proof from it all by the end of the Aussie Open but I think I'm doing everything I can to try to give myself a good opportunity down there."
Second seeded Belgian Kirsten Flipkens was bundled out by young Spanish qualifier Garbine Muguruza 6-4 6-3.
Muguruza will play compatriot Estrella Cabeza Candela in the other semi-final.