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Samantha Stosur’s long-awaited return to tennis, following the birth of her first daughter, didn’t go to plan as she was thumped at the Yarra Valley Classic Open.
Stosur returned to tennis in the warm-up event in the Yarra Valley ahead of her 19th Australian Open singles campaign after gaining a wildcard entry for the first Grand Slam of the year.
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The 36-year-old made her debut at Melbourne Park when Jennifer Capriati won her third and final grand slam title in 2001 and has only missed one since, due to illness, in 2008.
But her preparation wasn’t ideal after Marie Bouzkova brushed aside the veteran Aussie 6-2, 6-0 in convincing fashion.
Despite the loss, it marks an important moment for Stosur after a special 2020.
Stosur's partner Liz Astling gave birth to their first child last year and she hasn't played a WTA event since March, though the Queenslander did participate in the domestic UTR Pro Tennis Series in November.
The Gold Coast talent's 18-18 record at her home slam - she hasn't reached the second round since 2015 - belies an incredible career that includes a final and two semi-final appearances at the French Open and a combined six doubles and mixed doubles crowns on top of her 2011 US Open success.
After spending 16 years inside the WTA Top 100, the former World No.4 has drifted into three figures to now sit outside the direct entry zone.
Daria Gavrilova was the only Aussie to win her First Round clash, returning from foot injuries that threatened her career.
Hobbled by toe, Achilles and plantar fasciitis which caused her to miss last year's Australian Open, Gavrilova looked at peak fitness as she thrashed Slovakian Viktoria Kuzmova 6-2, 6-0 in just 65 minutes.
Stosur’s incredible baby news
Following the brith of her child, Stosur took to Instagram to show her excitement.
“It has been a whirlwind time but we could not imagine life without her now,” she wrote.
“Mum and Evie are doing well and it's so amazing to be home with them both.
“We are absolutely in love with this little bundle and rolling with the happy chaos.
“We can't wait for what's to come and to watch little Evie grow up....Although not too quickly we hope.”
Stosur has rarely spoken publicly about her relationship with Astling, but thanked her partner after winning the Spirit of Tennis Award at the Newcombe Medal night in 2019.
“To my Mum, Dad, … and my partner Liz, you have given me the love, support and every opportunity to pursue my dream and I’ll be forever grateful,” she wrote on social media at the time.
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