The Best of the Day preview goes to the net with tennis tips for a first-round match-up between Sam Stosur and Jessica Pegula in Strasbourg.
18:00 (AEST) @ Strasbourg Tennis Club
History: Played 1: Pegula 1 V Stosur 0
History: Washington Open, 2016 (QF): Pegula 7-6 6-3
Final Thoughts: Sam Stosur kicks off her campaign at the Internationaux de Strasbourg – a tournament she has won twice – against American Jessica Pegula.
Aussie veteran Stosur took out the clay-court event in 2015 and ’17. She defeated compatriot Daria Gavrilova in the final of the latter but dipped out in the quarters as defending champ last year.
A French Open finalist in 2010, Stosur’s last four WTA titles came on clay. But the former top-five player has slipped to 94th in the WTA rankings.
Still a doubles force, it’s been a difficult 2019 so far on the singles circuit for Stosur. A fruitless few weeks on home soil in January has fed into a string of early main-draw exits.
Arguably her best result of the year was an upset of Madison Keys at the Miami Open, but she was swept aside by Ash Barty 6-0 6-3 in the third round.
LISTEN | @BrettAPhillips caught up with @bambamsam30 following her massive victory over 17th seed Madison Keys at the @MiamiOpen Masters! Hear what Stosur had to say in this exclusive interview! #MiamiOpen @TennisAustralia
— THE FIRST SERVE (@TheFirstServeAU) March 22, 2019
— FOX SPORTS Australia (@FOXSportsAUS) April 21, 2019
Stosur went down to Rebecca Peterson 7-5 7-5 in the second round of the Italian Open last week after first-round opponent Margarita Gasparyan retired in the first set.
The 25-year-old Pegula currently boast a career-high ranking of No.71. She reached a maiden WTA final in Quebec last year, losing to Pauline Parmentier.
Pegula has had some encouraging recent results, making the third round of the Charleston Open and beating former top-10 player Andrea Petkovic at the Prague Open.
— USTA (@usta) May 1, 2019
Pegula prevailed in the only previous meetings between the players, a quarter-final upset at the 2016 Washington Open.
Stosur is no longer the force she was at the beginning of the decade. But the 35-year-old has a strong record on clay and looks good value as the underdog here.