Last summer, Sabine Lisicki knocked out Samantha Stosur on her way to the Wimbledon final. Since that memorable fortnight, though, things have not exactly gone to plan and she arrives in Rome with just four wins in her past six tournaments. The draw at the Foro Italico has thrown up a rematch with Stosur, who after early exits in Charleston and Oeiras showed glimpses of a return to form last week in Madrid.
The Turning Point
In an evenly contested opening set, Lisicki was made to pay for a loose service game at 3-2, handing over what turned out to be the only break when she ballooned a forehand well long. Stosur struck again at the start of the second, building an early lead, which despite some late pressure proved enough to get her over the line.
By The Numbers
While Lisicki was struggling to get to grips with her groundstrokes, Stosur was battening down the hatches. The Australian, who finished with just 14 unforced errors to her name, was particularly stubborn on serve, saving six of the seven break points she faced.
In the second round, Stosur will face Elena Vesnina, who proved too strong for Elina Svitolina. Stosur has a 2-2 head-to-head record with the Russian, coming out on top in the most recent in the series, last year in Sofia.