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Sam Stosur: 21 memorable moments in a legendary career

  • Dan Imhoff

The curtain is about to fall on the final chapter of Sam Stosur’s storied career at AO 2023.

Fittingly, we look back on two decades of highlights, and 21 memorable moments in what will be her 21st Australian Open.

A former world No.4 in singles and No.1 in doubles, the 38-year-old called time on her singles career at last year’s Australian Open.

She announced at the weekend her women’s doubles campaign alongside Alize Cornet and mixed doubles with Matthew Ebden would be her swansong appearances.

1. 2005: first two tour finals at home

While Stosur had started to make steady inroads in the previous two years, the 20-year-old reached her first tour singles final in her home city, the Gold Coast, in 2005, where she narrowly fell to Swiss Patty Schnyder 7-5 in the third.

“I guess it's hopefully one step at a time,” Stosur said after the loss. “I'll be back, I love playing here so whatever happens I'll be back and hopefully I can play better and better."

She made it back-to-back finals a week later in Sydney, before falling to compatriot Alicia Molik, again 7-5 in the deciding set.

2. Australian Open 2005: first major trophy

Scratch wildcard Queensland pair Stosur and Scott Draper rode a wave of home support at Melbourne Park to reach the Australian Open 2005 mixed doubles final without dropping a set.

The duo beat three seeded combinations en route to a first major title, holding off the experienced South African-Zimbabwean fourth seeds, Liezel Huber and Kevin Ullyet in the final.

“We weren't going to play together, but my partner called me up the night before and told me he wasn't going to play,” Stosur said. “So I called up Scotty and he agreed to play.”

Sam Stosur and Scott Draper 2005
3. US Open 2005: first major women’s doubles trophy

In her first women’s doubles Grand Slam final, Stosur and Lisa Raymond scooped the 2005 US Open over Elena Dementieva and Flavia Pennetta and went on to finish runner-up at Australian Open 2006.

The result lifted Stosur to the world No.1 doubles ranking, which she hung on to for the next 61 weeks.

Stosur and Raymond’s dominance also included the Roland Garros 2006 final over Daniela Hantuchova and Ai Sugiyama.

“The first couple of tournaments we played in we didn't do that great,” Raymond said in New York.

“But it takes a bit of time to get used to playing together and the last few weeks has been great.”

4. Wimbledon 2008: first trophy at the All England Club

Less than three months after Stosur returned to the tour after overcoming Lyme disease, she reached the women’s doubles and mixed doubles final at Wimbledon.

It was her partnership with Bob Bryan that delivered her first triumph at the All England Club, with victory over Mike Bryan and Katarina Srebotnik, in a final that was finished in near darkness after being shifted to No.1 Court because of rain delays.

Bob Bryan and Sam Stosur 2008
5. Roland Garros 2009: first Grand Slam semifinal

Seeded 30th, Stosur opened her sixth campaign in Paris with a win over the woman who would deny her a maiden major a year later, Francesca Schiavone. Yanina Wickmayer, fourth seed Elena Dementieva, Virginie Razzano and Sorana Cirstea were her subsequent victims en route to becoming the first Australian woman in 21 years to reach the Roland Garros semifinals.

“The French Open last year was my first Grand Slam after being out for nearly a year and from last year to this year, I just can't compare it,” Stosur said.

From a set and a break down against eventual champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, Stosur clawed back to force a deciding set only to come up short, but the result saw her crack the top 20.

6. Wimbledon 2009: doubles runner-up with Rennae Stubbs

While Wimbledon was the only women’s doubles silverware missing from her Grand Slam collection, Stosur came close three times. She finished runner-up with Lisa Raymond in 2008 and with Sabine Lisicki in 2011, but arguably the closest she came was in 2009 with compatriot and later her coach, Rennae Stubbs.

Seeded third, they defeated the likes of Svetlana Kuznetsova and Amelie Mauresmo and second seeds Anabel Medina Garrigues and Virgina Ruano Pascual before Venus and Serena Williams backed up from their singles final to prevail 7-6(4) 6-4.

“I don't know if it's better or worse playing them after a singles final,” Stosur said after the defeat.

7. Osaka 2009: First singles title

Less than three months after her biggest career win over Williams in Stanford, Stosur carried her hard-court winning ways to Japan where she beat Caroline Wozniacki and Schiavone back-to-back in Osaka for her maiden singles title.

The win marked Stosur’s first triumph from six tour-level finals.

Sam Stosur and Renae Stubbs Wimbledon 2009
8. Fed Cup 2010: Stosur/Stubbs clinch tie against Spain

Australia’s top-ranked woman had already secured both her singles matches in a World Group II tie in Adelaide and with the tie going down to the wire, Stosur was called up to partner 39-year-old Stubbs in the decisive doubles.

The pair took care of Maria-Jose Martinez Sanchez and Nuria Llagostera Vives after which Australian captain and Stosur’s then coach, David Taylor, praised her as “the best player in Australia, male or female, at the moment”.

“That can change careers and could give her an extra step up now to get even better,” Taylor said. “It's very significant.”

9. Charleston 2010: Stosur at her best amid 11-match winning streak

With Stosur’s heavy-kicking serve and whipping forehand ideally suited to the clay, it was little wonder she built on her 2009 Roland Garros semifinal a year later.

Arguably the best tour-level final Stosur played came in 2010 when the world No.11 picked up her second career title on the green clay of Charleston against Vera Zvonareva.

“I have played five consistently good matches here so going into Roland Garros I am going to be ready to go and definitely trying to at least repeat last year,” Stosur said after the 6-0 6-3 result.

She carried that form across the Atlantic where it took former world No.1 Justine Henin to snap her 11-match winning streak in Stuttgart.

10. Roland Garros 2010: snaps Henin’s 24-match winning streak in 4R

Stosur declared her intentions with a tour-leading 14-2 mark on clay leading in, but few had any inkling the giant-killing run she was about to embark on.

The seventh seed stunned the greatest clay-court player of her generation, four-time champion Henin, in the fourth round, which broke the Belgian’s 24-match winning streak.

“Coming through that moment I think was a huge point in my career,” Stosur told

“To think ‘OK, I can work things out on the fly, I can do it in a big moment, I can do it against one of the best players, on the biggest stages, in the fourth round of a Grand Slam, I can do this’.”

Sam Stosur at Roland Garros 2010
11. Roland Garros 2010: saves match point to stun Serena Williams

In a hugely anticipated quarterfinal Stosur saved a match point to earn her first victory over a reigning No.1, Williams, 6-2 6-7(2) 8-6.

Fourth seed Jelena Jankovic managed just three games in the semifinals, going the same way as Simona Halep in the first round.

Henin, Williams Jankovic and Halep were four former, current or future world No.1s whom Stosur would defeat in that magnificent run in Paris.

“I didn't want to let her try and dictate the points,” Stosur said of Williams. “I tried to do that straight back to her. You definitely have to go after her.”

World No.17 Francesca Schiavone proved her unlikely foil, denying her a maiden major 6-4 7-6(2) in the final.

12. WTA Finals 2010: first appearance at season-ending championships

Seeded fifth, Stosur avenged her Roland Garros defeat to Schiavone and recorded a straight-sets win over new world No.1 Wozniacki to secure a semifinal berth.

It made her the only player that year to beat reigning No.1s, Williams and Wozniacki. She fell to US Open champion Clijsters in the semi-finals to end the year at a career-best No.6.

13. US Open title 2011: Australia’s Grand Slam singles drought broken

Stosur was knocking on the door of a major singles breakthrough following her extraordinary run in Paris a year earlier.

Seeded ninth, she survived Nadia Petrova in three hours and 16 minutes, Maria Kirilenko, Vera Zvonareva and Angelique Kerber before her crowning moment.

A 6-2 6-3 defeat of Serena Williams made her the first Australian woman to win a singles major since Evonne Goolagong Cawley in 1980.

“I've been dreaming about this since I was 10, since I knew what a Grand Slam was,” she said.

Stosur retires as one of only three women who own a winning head-to-head record over Williams at the Slams, alongside Jennifer Capriati and Henin.

14. Fed Cup 2012: defeats two top-20 players in Stuttgart

Stosur contested 32 ties for Australia in her career, reaching the final in 2019 and 2022.

Her 29 singles wins are the most of any Australian and of those, it is arguably her back-to-back triumphs over top-20 Germans Angelique Kerber and Andrea Petkovic in Stuttgart in the 2012 World Group Play-offs that stand out.

Those victories helped elevate Australia back into the Fed Cup’s top flight.

15. Wimbledon 2014: third and final Grand Slam mixed trophy

Stosur was again crowned Wimbledon mixed doubles champion in 2014 with Nenad Zimonjic.

The pair dropped just one set en route, including over Max Mirnyi and Hao-Ching Chan in the final, in what became Stosur’s last mixed doubles major triumph.

“First time I've seen Sam was in the Australian Open when I lost to her in mixed,” Zimonjic said after the victory. “I said, ‘I have to ask her. I have to play with her. She's going to be a great partner’.”

16. Roland Garros 2016: Stosur stuns Halep en route to semis

While the Coupe Suzanne-Lenglen ultimately eluded Stosur, Roland Garros was by far her strongest of the four majors as she ended her singles career with a 40-16 (71 per cent) record.

The only major where she reached at least the semifinals four times, the last in 2016, was arguably her most surprising.

Almost four years after she last reached a Grand Slam quarterfinal, and having arrived under a wrist injury cloud, she weathered a rain-delayed match over three days to deny world No.6 Simona Halep en route to the semifinals before eventual champion Garbine Muguruza ended her charge.

Sam Stosur and Simona Halep Roland Garros 2016
17. Strasbourg 2017: final singles title

One of just two stops on tour after Osaka where she landed titles at least twice, Stosur had endured a challenging start to the year and had semifinal points from Paris to defend a week later.

In a two-hour, 45-minute battle, she denied Daria Gavrilova for her ninth singles title but a fourth-round Roland Garros departure meant her countrywoman displaced her as the top-ranked Australian.

“I definitely was expecting a very tough match against Dasha,” Stosur said.

“I thought it could be long and tiring and very physical and she certainly made me work very hard for it.”

18. Australian Open 2019: Stosur ends 13-year major doubles drought

Not since Roland Garros in 2006 had Stosur landed a women’s doubles Grand Slam trophy but partnering China’s Zhang Shuai, the duo defeated top seeds Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova in the quarterfinals and later stunned second seeds and defending champions Mladenovic and Timea Babos for the title.

“I think the friendship, the respect we have for each other is why we can then play so well together,” Stosur said.

READ: Sam Stosur and Zhang Shuai F interview

“It's just enjoyable. We have fun. We're smiling before every match.”

More than two and a half years later, they combined for their second major together when they held off in-form US teenagers Coco Gauff and Caty McNally for the 2021 US Open.

19. Fed Cup 2019: Stosur sends Australia through to final

It came down to the final set of the final rubber against Belarus on Pat Rafter Arena.

In her home state, alongside fellow Queenslander, Ash Barty, Stosur helped guide Australia into the Fed Cup final with a thrilling 7-5 3-6 6-2 win over Aryna Sabalenka and Victoria Azarenka.

“Obviously the singles didn't go the way I wanted it to, but to bounce back in 30 minutes and then come out and play as well as what we did, together and with the team supporting us, that was just an incredible feeling. Amazing,” Stosur said.

The pair ultimately fell short against the French in Perth seven months later.

20. Tokyo 2021: fifth straight Olympic Games appearance

The first Australian tennis player to appear in five Olympic Games, Stosur added Tokyo to her Rio de Janeiro, London, Beijing and Athens appearances in 2021.

While she never won a medal, Stosur left little doubt what it meant to don the green and gold at the world’s biggest sporting spectacle.

“You get to meet people that you’d never ever think that you’d be able to meet or talk to, and whatever their sport is, they’re the best in the country and some of the best in the world,” she said.

“To be part of that is absolutely incredible.”

21. Billie Jean King Cup 2022: Stosur helps Australia to final

With the semifinal tie against Great Britain poised at 1-all in Glasgow, 38-year-old Stosur answered the call-up to partner Storm Hunter in a decisive doubles match.

The pair silenced the home crowd as they edged Olivia Nicholls and Alicia Barnett in a third-set super tiebreak to hand Australia a 2-1 victory before Switzerland came out on top in the final.

“I'd certainly rather be playing than watching,” Stosur said after the semifinal triumph.