The US Open champion was her own worst enemy as she slumped to a 7-6 (7-2) 6-3 defeat against the Romanian. Stosur, the No.6 seed, was guilty of making 33 unforced errors and was on the back foot for long periods. Stosur had been aiming to become Australia’s first women’s champion since Chris O’Neil beat Betsy Nagelsen in 1978. However, the 27-year-old has never looked comfortable dealing with the expectations at Melbourne Park – with Stosur failing to make in past the fourth round since her debut in 2002. And Cirstea, a former French Open quarter-finalist, added to her misery as she sealed victory in 91 minutes. The 21-year-old, who impressed with her looping forehands and work at the net, finally clinched her place in the second round with her fourth match point.
“Probably the whole of Australia hates me right now,” Cirstea said. “I think everyone was talking about her and they were forgetting about me.” Stosur’s defeat was perhaps not totally unexpected, following as it did hot on the heels of a second-round exit in Brisbane and a first-round loss in Sydney. Stosur said: “I am extremely disappointed. It’s certainly not what I wanted, not just this tournament but the whole (Australian) summer. “I think it was one of those matches where I wasn’t taking charge and she was playing super aggressive. “She would either hit great balls or could miss by a long way. “She hung in there and kept going for it and eventually got better and better. She played a very, very good match and you have to give credit where it’s due.” As for the pressure on her shoulders coming into the event, she added: “There’s probably nothing greater than my own expectation. “I really, really wanted to do well here and over the summer and I did everything I could to try to give myself a good opportunity. But it obviously didn’t happen. “I know everyone was behind me and it’s disappointing that I won’t get another chance to step out on court.”
Cirstea added that as the underdog, she had ben free to play without any pressure on her shoulders. “Of course, it’s a big win, but I’m staying with my feet on the ground because I know today I went on the court, no pressure, she had the pressure,” the Romanian added. “I had nothing to lose. “But now things are changing a little bit. Now people are going to expect me to win (my) next match.” That will be against Poland’s Urszula Radwanska.