In a different approach from what I normally take, I’ll count down the top 12 tennis players in the world (6 women, 6 men) for the 12 Days of Christmas. I’ll also bring back my “Buy, Sell” segment as I look ahead to 2012.
It doesn’t seem too long ago that I sat down on a blustery August morning to watch Superhero Slam absolutely dismantle Virginie Razzano. Yes, it should have been a pretty winnable match for Sam. However, the manner in which she did it left my jaw around court level. As Razanno realized she wasn’t going to win from the baseline, she adapted and tried to get to net more. Good move. Unfortunately for her, it didn’t matter. Sam fired big serves, down the line passing shots, wicked spinning lobs, you name it. On Sam’s serve, she started coming to the net, slicing and pounding to set it up and finishing it off with excellent volleys. It eventually led to one of the most comical things I’ve ever seen on a tennis court in Razzano’s frustration, and it was tough to blame her.
Consistency and confident have always been the two most difficult things for the Aussie, but she managed to pull them together this year at the US Open, and did it ever pay off. While this past year’s US Open will likely be remembered in the minds of most for Stosur’s first slam victory and Serena’s ridiculous and offside comments (again), it will always be that tiebreak that will stand out for me. It was classic US Open, for better or worse. One amazing match pushed to an outer court because of rain that brought massive drama and more atmosphere than your kid’s soccer final. It was also one of those excellent sports moments that was fantastic to see unfold in real time over Twitter as well.
Amazingly, before Rome Stosur had only made one semifinal (Stuttgart) and one quarterfinal (Dubai) and even lost to one Dinara Safina in Indian Wells. The results started to come, however, largely the final in Toronto, where she never looked likely to lose until teeing off against a rejuvenated Serena.
Then of course the US Open run, where she survived back to back marathons against Petrova and Kirilenko, dismantled Zvonareva and eventually calmly rose to the occasion against a scatterbrained Serena.
All in all, Sam has very few points to defend for the first chunk of the year, and some successful results could see her ranking stock rise incredibly quickly. When she’s on, she’s really on, and Sam Stosur is undoubtedly one to watch in 2012.