Stosur’s Mental Game Helps Her Upset Williams at Open

Stosur’s mental focus, tactics, and powerful shots helped her win the US Open over Williams, 6-2, 6-3. Stosur was the underdog in her mind, and many others, but still managed to win a lopsided match for her first US Open title. She felt less pressure as the underdog. “I felt like I was definitely the underdog going into it, so maybe that kind of made me a little more relaxed going into this match than especially my last Grand Slam final,” said Stosur.

Stosur managed to stay focused under extreme adversity and distractions during the match. At the start of the second set the referee, Asderaki, slapped Williams with an intentional hindrance penalty (Williams yelled “Come on” in the middle of the point) and then awarded the point Stosur, which gave her the lead at 1-0.

Williams started barking at the referee and then the crowd got involved… Stosur felt that her mental focus helped her overcome these distractions, which could have changed the momentum of the match. “For sure it was difficult to stay focused, and then obviously the crowd got heavily involved. It was probably the loudest I ever felt a crowd in my whole entire life. You’re right in the middle of it. It was definitely a quite overwhelming feeling. But once I hit that next ball in the court and started playing again, I felt settled. I guess it definitely could have been the big pivotal point in the match,” said Stosur.

Stosur admits that she’s not perfect with her mental game. At times, she’s had to battle her own internal demons. But she’s learned how to control her thoughts. “Things come into your mind. You can’t control what comes into your mind. But I guess you can control what you do with those thoughts. I just tried to keep playing each game, each point, and stick to my game plan, stick to my guns, and not leave anything to chance. Fortunately I was able to do that from start to finish,” said Stosur.

Maybe even more important to her final win was the ability to fight hard when down in earlier matches at the 2011 Open just to give herself a chance to play in the final match. She’s learned how to fight through adversity and stay positive on the court. “I think it’s probably pretty rare that a player can go through and win a slam, and not have to fight through any adversity or, being down in matches. So I think getting through that third round just proves to myself that you could never give up, and, being a break down in that third set, that all of a sudden turns into winning the tournament.”

“So it proves that if you hang in there long enough, and stay out on the court long enough, you can turn things around. My coaches told me in the past to try and win one of these you might play a couple of really great matches, one really terrible, and maybe a couple in between. As long as you get through those and give yourself another chance to be on the court, I guess that’s really all that matters,” said Stosur.

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