New coach ignites Stosur's self-belief

Samantha Stosur feels comfortable at Flushing Meadows. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

Samantha Stosur feels comfortable at Flushing Meadows. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

TENNIS

Samantha Stosur doesn't need to take the "Walk of Champions" and see her framed life-sized photo mounted next to Pat Rafter's at Flushing Meadows to ignite her US Open fire.

The 2011 champion only needs to stroll through the general admission gates to feel like a contender again.

"It's a great feeling coming back to a place where you've done well - and winning it is as good as it gets," Stosur said ahead of her first-round match against American Lauren Davis on Wednesday.

"I know my game can stack up really well on these courts in these conditions and, if I put it all together at the right time and get it happening, I know that I can do well here.

"I've proven that in the past, so why not do it again?"

Seeded 24th this year, Stosur has every reason to feel optimistic heading into the final grand slam of the year after finding her mojo during the American hardcourt swing.

Without back-to-back victories since Roland Garros, Stosur stretched Serena Williams in a morale-boosting 7-6 (9-7) 7-6 (9-7) loss in Cincinnati before peeling off four consecutive wins last week in New Haven.

Stosur's victims included Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard, her first top-10 scalp in more than a year.

"It was a bonus to get that wildcard in Connecticut and make the most of it, making the semis," she said.

Stosur's vastly improved form has followed her appointment last month of Simon Rea, who finished his coaching stint with Nick Kyrgios after the teenager charged to the Wimbledon quarter-finals.

Stosur had planned to go coachless for the rest of 2014 after parting ways with Miles Maclagan before Wimbledon.

But the 30-year-old's change of heart has proven a masterstroke.

"Obviously I'm really happy that I made that decision," Stosur said.

"He's been really good to get me to believe in my tennis again and use my weapons again."

Another player believing in her singles again is Casey Dellacqua, whose remarkable transformation from a three-times grand slam doubles finalist in 2013 has given Australia two women's seeds at the US Open for the first time in more than 30 years.

Seeded 29th, Dellacqua also opens her tournament on Wednesday, a year after having to qualify for the New York major as the world No 143.

"Obviously this time 12 months ago I was probably at a little bit of a crossroads in terms of where I wanted to head," Dellacqua said.

"I'd obviously had great success with Ash [Barty] but I didn't feel like my singles was totally done.

"I was committed to working hard and trying to get back to playing as good a singles as I can do.

"It's really paying off." - AAP

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