Samantha Stosur loses in first round at Brisbane International; Andy Murray nears return


BRISBANE, Australia — Australian Samantha Stosur‘s year ended on a sour note after she was bundled out of her home state tournament by Anastasija Sevastova in the first round of the Brisbane International on Sunday.

Stosur, the former US Open champion and French Open finalist, had opportunities against her 27-year-old Latvian opponent in the first set, but was completely outplayed by the seventh-seeded Sevastova in the second set to be eliminated 6-1, 6-3.

It wasn’t a good day for world No. 8 Caroline Garcia, either, after she retired in her first-round match against French compatriot Alize Cornet.

Garcia, the fourth seed, started brightly to take the first set 6-3, but Cornet rallied to claim the second and force a deciding set. Garcia then took an injury timeout for treatment on her lower back and played just one point before retiring.

Cornet will next play Mirjana Lucic-Baroni in the second round after the Croatian beat Germany’s Tatjana Maria 6-4, 4-6, 6-0.

Serbian Aleksandra Krunic beat Carina Witthoeft of Germany 7-5, 7-6 (2) to set up a second-round clash with Spanish top seed Garbine Muguruza.

In the men’s draw Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine beat sixth seed Diego Schwartzman of Argentina 6-4, 7-6 (3).

Meanwhile, former world No.1 Andy Murray continued his return from a hip injury with a practice session in Brisbane on Sunday as he prepares for his first competitive match since July. That comeback match will be in the second round against the Ryan HarrisonLeonardo Mayer winner on Tuesday or Wednesday.

“I just want to enjoy playing again, I really missed it,” Murray said on Sunday. “I want to play tennis… I don’t mind if it’s 30 in the world level — I’d love it to be number one in the world level — I just want to play.”

“When that’s taken away from you, you realize how important it is.”

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