Stosur rallies to claim second Japan Open title

Reuters and AP, OSAKA, Japan

Mon, Oct 14, 2013 - Page 19

Australia’s Sam Stosur fought back from a set down to claim the Japan Open for a second time yesterday and deny Canadian teenager Eugenie Bouchard her first WTA title.

The former US Open champion beat her 19-year-old opponent 3-6, 7-5, 6-2 in Osaka to clinch the US$250,000 hard-court title, her second of the year.

The Australian wore down Bouchard with some booming forehands into an open court after pushing the Canadian out wide with a clever kick serve.

It was a fifth career title for the world No. 20 and second in Osaka following a 2009 success.

Stosur lost her only previous match against Bouchard in April in Charleston when she retired due to injury while trailing 6-1, 2-0.

Bouchard began her first WTA final confidently, breaking her 29-year-old opponent three times en route to taking the opening set 6-2.

The second set looked to be heading for a tiebreak at 5-5, but third seed Stosur stepped up her game, breaking the Canadian as she won seven of the next eight points to seal it 7-5.

Bouchard held serve to open the deciding set, but Stosur again went on a run, claiming the next four games to open up a lead she would not relinquish to seal victory in 2 hours, 13 minutes.

“Eugenie was playing really well today. I just had to stick it out in the second set, and I’m pretty happy with how things went in the third,” Stosur said in an on-court interview.

“I love playing here. I love the site and the fans are great — I always feel like I have lots and lots of support when I come to Osaka,” she said.

Second seeds Kristina Mladenovic of France and Flavia Pennetta of Italy defeated Stosur and Zhang Shuai of China 6-4, 6-3 to land the doubles title.

Additional reporting by staff writer