Mixed Aussie fortunes on tennis court

Published 8 August 2016 (AEDT)

Samantha Stosur plays a backhand against Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia in their first round match. © 2016 Getty Images

Australia had mixed fortunes on day two of the Rio Olympics tennis tournament, with Sam Stosur winning her first round match but Sam Groth and Dario Gavrilova bowing out.


Stosur survived a slow start to her women’s singles campaign against Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia. She lost the first set 6-1 before taking control and defeating Ostapenko 6-3 6-2 in the final two sets.


Groth had a tough first-round match against eighth-seeded Belgian David Goffin in the men’s singles.

Making his Olympic debut after a last-minute call-up, Groth went down 6-4 6-2.


Gavrilova had the bad luck to be drawn against top-seeded Serena Williams, who took the first step toward defending her Olympic title by winning 6-4 6-2 on Centre Court.


Stosur said she had trouble at first handling the big-serving, big-hitting Latvian, who was going for everything.


“I didn’t know much about her and I was feeling things out a bit at first,” she said.


“She wasn’t missing a beat. I didn’t think I was playing that badly but there wasn’t much I could do.


“But by the end I was dictating play so obviously it was good for me to be able to turn it around.


“When things get tighter on the scoreboard that style of tennis doesn’t always come off.”

Groth said he was “super excited” to get a late call-up to Rio and didn’t sleep too well for the days leading up to the Games.


He also said conditions didn’t suit him.


“It’s been hot and lively here since I arrived and the day my match comes around it’s heavy and slow,” he said.


Groth said he had a couple of chances to break back against the Belgian but wasn’t able to convert.


“But it’s been amazing to be part of the Olympics, and it’s something I’ll cherish forever.”


Groth will stay on to support Australia’s athletes, including roommate John Millman, Australia’s only other surviving singles player.


Doug Conway




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