SYDNEY: Top seeded Australian Sam Stosur kicked off her 2011 season by easing through to the second round of the Brisbane International with a 7-6 6-1 win over Czech qualifier Lucie Hradecka yesterday.
The world number six was broken in the first game and had to save a set point before rattling through the first set tiebreaker by a 7-1 margin at Pat Rafter Arena.
Having shaken off the rust, the 26-year-old then breezed through the second set to set up a second round match against fellow Australian Jarmila Groth at the warm-up tournament for the Jan. 17-30 Australian Open.
“Obviously she was winning on the scoreboard, but she was hitting the ball very well and she’s got a huge serve so at the start it was maybe a bit hard to read that,” said French Open finalist Stosur, her country’s best chance of ending a 32-year wait for a home grand slam champion at Melbourne Park.
“I didn’t panic, I didn’t start freaking out and thinking I had to play unbelievable to try and get back. I just took it point by point and slowly started getting it back.”
Slovakia’s Daniela Hantuchova earlier withdrew from the tournament due to a partial tear to her left Achilles tendon.
The 27-year-old, a semi-finalist at Melbourne Park in 2008, was scheduled to play Anna Chakvetadze but would be replaced in the draw by another Russian in Ksenia Pervak.
The Brisbane International will run until Jan 9. — Reuters