Sam Stosur silences the haters after Australian Open 'disgrace'

Sam Stosur and Matt Ebden, pictured here after the mixed doubles final at the Australian Open.
Sam Stosur and Matt Ebden pose with their runner up trophies after the Australian Open mixed doubles final. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Twelve months ago the treatment that Sam Stosur received after crashing out of her home grand slam in the first round was labelled 'Australia's disgrace'.

The 2011 US Open champion has unfairly become the butt of jokes among Aussie tennis fans, with her singles career failing to live up to the hype after she shocked Serena Williams 10 years ago to win her maiden grand slam.

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She was also bundled out of the 2021 Australian Open in the second round, losing to eventual quarter-finalist Jessica Pegula 6-0 6-1.

However her performance with Matt Ebden in the mixed doubles event should go some way to silencing the haters.

Stosur and Ebden made it all the way to Saturday night's final, where they lost to Barbora Krejcikova and Rajeev Ram.

The Czech-American combination added to their 2019 victory with a 6-1 6-4 win in one hour, while for Krejcikova it was a title three-peat after she also won the mixed last year with Croatian Nikola Mektic.

For Stosur, it marked the 10th time that she's played in a doubles final at a grand slam.

She has three grand slam titles in women's doubles and another three in the mixed.

Combined with her 2011 singles title at the US Open and Stosur is a seven-time grand slam champion.

Not bad for someone who routinely cops vile abuse from fans every summer.

The 36-year-old has two mixed titles at Wimbledon (2008 and 2014), one at the Australian Open (2005), as well as one women's doubles title each at the Australian (2019), French (2006) and US Open (2005).

While she probably won't get the recognition from casual fans, Stosur will go down as one of the greats of Australian tennis.

Krejcikova and Ram defy hard quarantine to win

Saturday night's victory will be so much sweeter given that Krejcikova and Ram were among the 72 players to be confined to their rooms in the lead-up to the Australian Open.

The pair called each other regularly during the hard lockdown, Ram describing Australia as having done the right thing, as difficult as it was for the players.

From there, he said, it was just a matter of not training too hard and playing each match on its merits.

"I'm 36. I played tennis for 34 years, I'm not going to forget how to do it in 14 days," he said.

"It was just a matter of trying to make sure that physically and mentally you feel like you're in the right spot.

"And thinking about winning a tournament is way far away, just (think) what are you going to do day by day."

Sam Stosur and Matt Ebden, pictured here after the Australian Open mixed doubles final.
Rajeev Ram and Barbora Krejcikova pose with the championship trophy after beating Sam Stosur and Matt Ebden in the Australian Open mixed doubles final. (Photo by WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images)

Krejcikova, who lost the women's doubles final with Katerina Siniakova to Aryna Sabalenka and Elise Mertens, said she just tried to block everything else out once she got back to playing tennis.

"Do your best, no matter what," she said.

Signs weren't good for the Australians when Ebden and Stosur were broken in their opening service games as Krejcikova and Ram comfortably held onto their own to set up a 4-0 lead.

Another break and hold by the visitors set up the first set after just 22 minutes.

The second set was much tighter.

The Australians went toe-to-toe with the more experienced team, staying on serve until 4-5.

But a loose service game from Ebden was enough to seal the trophy for Krejcikova and Ram, the Australian shooting a forehand wide after a long rally on match point.

with AAP

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