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Stosur Wins Opener, Groth Next

Australia's Top 2 will clash in Brisbane, after Samantha Stosur toughed out a first round win.

Published January 03, 2011 12:00

Stosur Wins Opener, Groth Next
Samantha Stosur

BRISBANE, Australia - Samantha Stosur made a winning beginning to the Australian summer, toughing out a close first set then rolling in the second set to dispatch Lucie Hradecka in the first round of Brisbane, 76(1) 61.

Stosur, ranked No.6 in the world and the No.1 seed this week, had won her last 13 matches against players ranked outside the Top 100, but things didn't seem headed the same way early on. Hradecka, ranked No.110, broke twice for a 4-1 lead and held a pair of set points serving for the first set at 5-4; Stosur got into gear from there however, pushing the first set to a tie-break then cruising.

"I didn't panic. I didn't start freaking out," Stosur said of the first set deficit. "I took it point by point and slowly I started coming back. She has a huge serve, so it was hard to break her, but when I got my opportunity late in the set I was able to take it. Then her game kind of dropped off a bit in the second set."

Australian No.1 Stosur could have an even tougher test in the second round, namely Australian No.2 Jarmila Groth. Groth went from outside the Top 100 to inside the Top 50 in 2010, coming into this week at No.42; the hard-hitting Groth also won the pair's only previous meeting, though that was four years ago.

"Lucie hits the ball so hard and so does Jarka, so I hope today's match will help me for the next one," Stosur added. "I'll need to play well to get through her."

Shahar Peer, seeded No.2 at the $220,000 tournament, was also a straight set winner, scoring a 64 62 victory against another Aussie, Sophie Ferguson.

"It was my first match of 2011. I played fine but not great," Peer said. "I think my pre-season training helped me, though. I came from a very hot country - it's very hot in Israel right now even though it should be winter. Even though we were covered today it was very humid inside. I'm feeling good physically."

The No.3 and No.4 seeds, Nadia Petrova and Marion Bartoli, had mixed results in their first round matches. Petrova wasn't able to escape Petra Kvitova, falling to the Czech lefty, 76(3) 63; Bartoli had no trouble with Vania King, firing seven aces en route to a routine 61-minute, 61 62 victory.

No.8 seed Alexandra Dulgheru also went down, as Andrea Petkovic won nine straight games from 3-all in the first set to upset the Romanian, 63 60. Dominika Cibulkova, Iveta Benesova, Barbora Zahlavova Strycova, Ksenia Pervak and Jelena Dokic also won first round matches, Dokic defeating Anastasia Pivovarova in the feature night match, 64 63.

"Overall for the first match at the start of the year I'm happy. I could have lost a few less games in the first set," Dokic said afterwards. "I've been working on a lot of different things and it's starting to pay off in my matches."

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