Groth Makes Winning Start In Brisbane

Australian No.2 Jarmila Groth won her first match of the year. Australia's No.1 could be next.

Published January 02, 2011 12:00

Groth Makes Winning Start In Brisbane
Jarmila Groth

BRISBANE, Australia - Jarmila Groth, Australia's No.2 who won her first WTA title during a breakthrough 2010, made a strong start to 2011, beating Arantxa Parra Santonja in the first round of the Brisbane International.

Groth won the first set in 30 minutes and battled back from 0-3 in the second set to beat the tricky Spaniard, 62 75, and move into the second round, where she could play Australian No.1 and tournament top seed Samantha Stosur.

"Those three games I lost at the start of the second set, I was basically making too many unforced errors, but I'm glad I was able to get it back," Groth said. "It isn't easy to come out and win your first match, no matter how much practice you've put in during the off-season. I was just trying to playing my game.

"It sucks for the Tournament Director to have Australia's No.1 and No.2 playing each other early on, but if it happens, I'm really looking forward to it. She is hitting the ball really well and I'll just play hard and give it a shot."

Groth wasn't the only Aussie to win on Day 1. The first match of 2011 saw an Australian up-and-comer pull off a big upset in front of her home crowd, as Sally Peers surprised Alisa Kleybanova in their first round match, 36 64 63.

Playing just her fourth match at the WTA level - going 1-2 in her first three - the No.154-ranked Peers hung tough against No.25-ranked Kleybanova, rallying from a set and a break down and building a 5-0 lead in the third. Kleybanova won three games in a row, but Peers closed out the No.7 seed just in time.

"She relaxed and started hitting out. She hit clean winners on my first few match points! I'm happy I was able to settle in and close it out there," Peers said. "I'm really, really excited right now. Alisa is such a quality player. I tried to stay out there as long as possible. I love playing in these conditions."

Peers, 19, earned her first Top 50 win. Her only previous win at the main draw level came in the first round of last year's US Open, where she beat a No.54-ranked Aleksandra Wozniak. In the next round, she lost to idol Kim Clijsters.

"Playing Kim at the US Open gave me so much experience. That court was just enormous," Peers added. "The crowd really kept me going today. My goal this year was to play matches and keep improving. Hopefully I can keep this up."

No.5 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova avenged her fellow seed's loss, but had to battle for over two hours to do so, beating Alla Kudryavtseva, 62 67(5) 63.

"Alla was playing well," Pavlyuchenkova said. "In the second set it got tough. I came here from Europe and it's so different here with the hot conditions, but I'm very happy to win my first match of the year. It's a pretty good result and it's definitely better to win your first match of the year than lose it."

In other matches, Lucie Safarova beat Akgul Amanmuradova, 63 36 62; and Bojana Jovanovski beat Australian No.3 Anastasia Rodionova, 26 62 63.

"There were a few things I did well, but I definitely wasn't happy with the way I played today," Rodionova said. "I tried my best. She played well - especially at the end of the match. But I think I made a few too many unforced errors."

Rodionova also gave props to her countrywoman, Peers. "She had some really good results last year and has improved a lot. I watched a few games and she played great tennis. I'm really happy for her. She really earned the win."

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