GUANGZHOU, China – Wildcard Samantha Stosur overpowered qualifier Tereza Martincova, 6-2, 6-4 in 78 minutes to progress into the second round of the Guangzhou Open.

The 35-year-old Australian arrived for this match after a difficult 2019, in which she had already lost six matches to players outside the Top 100, but reprised some of the form that carried her to WTA World No.4 at her peak.

Her power proved to be too much for her Czech opponent as she stormed to victory to move beyond the first round in Guangzhou for the first time in three attempts. 

“I got off to a really good start, got used to the conditions quickly, which was good. The second set got tighter and closer, but to get through that in straight sets, I’m very, very happy,” she said.

“I don’t mind the hot and humid conditions but I’m so sweaty I need to change my clothes every 20 minutes. You can’t do that in a match so it’s a bit of a struggle. But normally in the heat I don’t mind it, so fingers crossed I can bounce back.”

The tone was set for the match immediately as Stosur broke serve to love in the opening game then enjoyed a relatively comfortable hold on her own delivery. 

Martincova, who has recently pushed Caroline Garcia and Karolina Pliskova all the way in tight defeats, struggled to impose herself on the WTA World No.129, as the player ranked nine spots ahead of her simply blasted her way past her.

On the rare occasions that the 24-year-old qualifier had opportunities, she was guilty of snatching at them as her unforced error count spiralled.

Although she was able to get herself on the board midway through the set, it proved little more than consolation as Stosur wrapped up the opener having lost just four points in her four service games.

The veteran turned the screw at the start of the second set by breaking straight away, and though she faced down break point for the first time shortly afterwards, the opportunity was squandered by her rival.

There was no lack of determination from Martincova, who clung onto her hopes in the match by fighting back from 0-40 down in the third game to deuce, though this simply delayed the double break as a fierce, flat passing shot from the Australian ripped past her.

Despite a healthy 3-0 double-break advantage, Stosur showed signs of nerves as she neared the finish line. For the first time her serve faltered, and though she was broken twice, in between times she chalked up a valuable game on her opponent’s delivery.  

She fell 0-30 down as she served for the match, but a deft volley drop put her back on track. A big serve and a devilish slice helped her finally get over the line against a gutsy opponent. 

Next up for Stosur as she attempts to reach her second quarterfinal of the season is a match with Bernarda Pera, who shocked No.8 seed Ons Jabeur, 6-4, 6-3 earlier on Monday.

“She’s been doing well the last couple of years on Tour and she’s a lefty. That’s not always easy for me, it’s a good challenge so looking forward to it,” the 2011 US Open champion said.

Aleksandra Krunic and Viktorija Golubic both scored comfortable straight-sets victories over Aliaksandra Sasnovich and Wang Xiyu respectively.

Wimbledon quarterfinalist Marie Bouzkova had to work a good deal harder to see off, Xun Fang-Ying, saving four consecutive match points in a deciding tiebreaker before claiming the match, 6-3, 2-6, 7-6(6).