I’ve seen a 5-2 lead in a set disappear too many times in my career as a tennis fan. We all saw it yesterday when Sam Stosur led by that scoreline in the 3rd set against Jie Zheng before she collapsed in front of her home crowd (where else?), 4-6 6-1 5-7. Although a 5-2 lead can be misleading sometimes, a player can lead by that much with only one break of serve, that wasn’t the case in this one. Sam was ahead 2 breaks and had all the momentum. She was asked about the c-word in her presser and didn’t disagree.
Q. How much of it was mental as opposed to physical?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: Oh, I think it’s a hundred percent. I think, yeah, that’s what it was. I got tight and then you start missing some balls. You probably think a little bit too much. You do it over and over and over again, and then, yeah, you start not wanting to miss rather than wanting to, you know, make the winner.
Q. Do you think you choked?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: I don’t know. Whatever word you want to put on it. At 5 2 up in the third, double break probably is a bit of a choke, yeah.
Oh, Sammy, why are you so scared of Australia?
Image © REUTERS/Daniel Munoz