No need to panic as Sam misfires

SAMANTHA Stosur says she is frustrated but not despondent after slumping to consecutive Hopman Cup defeats.

Stosur, who suffered a three-sets loss to Eugenie Bouchard on Saturday, committed 26 unforced errors on the way to a 6-4, 6-4 loss to Italy’s Flavia Pennetta at the mixed teams event in Perth yesterday.

Bernard Tomic won the men’s tie against Andreas Seppi, but the Australians lost the deciding doubles rubber.

Stosur, the 2011 US Open champion, has famously struggled to find form during the home tennis summer in recent years but said there was no need to panic just yet before next month’s Australian Open.

‘‘It’s disappointing not to get a win again. But I thought I played some good tennis,’’ Stosur said.

‘‘Every year I’ve managed to play well at some point. It’s not like you start not so well and then your whole year is shot.

‘‘Time on court is the most important thing at the moment and that’s why this tournament is so great.

‘‘I’m sure with each day I can take a bit more from it and build on what I’ve been doing.

‘‘I’m still pretty happy with the way I’m hitting the ball. 

‘‘There’s room for improvement, but I don’t think it’s the worst start I’ve ever had.’’

Stosur has lost all five of her meetings with Pennetta, who is ranked 13 places behind the world No.18 Australian.

The Queenslander committed only four double faults, but three of those came in the crucial ninth game of the second set.

Those errors gifted Pennetta the only break of the set, with the Italian holding her own serve next game to secure the win in 90minutes.

Later, Tomic shook off a heavy training load to keep Australia’s title hopes alive.

Tomic beat Seppi 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 to level the tie at 1-1.

Australia, who lost to Canada 2-1 in their opening tie, needed to beat Italy if they were to have any hope of reaching the final.

Tomic said he was tired after training for five hours on Monday and another two hours before his match against Seppi.

The world No.51 looked proppy in the second set but rediscovered his mojo to seal the match in 102minutes.

‘‘I started slow but it was very good tennis,’’ Tomic said. ‘‘Yesterday I trained a lot so I was very tired.’’

Italy won the mixed doubles 6-3, 6-4 to ensure Australia’s title drought would extend to a 16th year.

 ●  She may have proved that she was human, but world No.1 Serena Williams was still at her unstoppable best as she booked a Brisbane International quarter-final berth yesterday.

The 17-time grand slam champion overcame a rare air swing that brought a welcome smile to the face of outclassed German opponent Andrea Petkovic to cruise to a 6-4, 6-4 second-round win at Pat Rafter Arena.

Williams, 32, cut a frustrated figure after unforced errors as she blew the rust off in her first match of the new season.

But the defending champion did not know how to react when she stormed to the net in the fifth game of the second set for yet another winner, only to completely miss former world No.9 Petkovic’s floating return.

Petkovic – now the world No.43 – had a good natured giggle but there was little else to smile about as Williams extended her overall winning streak to 19 matches.

Williams booked a quarter-final against Slovakian ninth seed Dominika Cibulkova, who was the first into the final eight when she ousted  43-year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm of Japan.  AAP

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