HOBART, Australia – Veronika Kudermetova produced a dominant performance at the Hobart International to defeat wildcard Samantha Stosur, 6-2, 6-2 in 64 minutes.
The Russian had fallen at the final hurdle in Brisbane qualifying last week but was quickly into the groove in her first main draw of the season, boasting too much artillery for home favorite Stosur.
The pair had met previously only in the Fed Cup of 2014, where the 16-year-old Kudermetova was rapidly overwhelmed by the former WTA World No.4. In Tasmania, however, the roles were comprehensively reversed.
“I’m happy with my game. It’s hard to play here, it’s so windy," she said. I tried to play aggressively sometimes, sometimes just point by point and not make so many mistakes.
“I was pleased with my serve and my forehand. I have a bit more confidence on these shots.
“When you start to win some matches, you start to find confidence. So I feel better after this match.”
In blustery conditions, Kudermetova took the opening set in just 27 minutes, boasting two breaks of serve, then weathered a response from her opponent in the second to move comfortably through.
“She was able to hit the ball through the court a lot better than me,” Stosur admitted. “When I got behind in the point, it was hard to turn it around. When I could start up the court, I felt in control of the point. When I had chances, I felt I played the points well.”
Indeed, it was the controlled power of the 22-year-old Kudermetova that was the defining aspect of the opening set as she was able to dominate the center of the court and move her opponent from side to side.
Stosur, meanwhile, fought with her accuracy, with a high unforced error count contributing significantly as she fell 5-1 behind.
Kudermetova’s striking, meanwhile, was sure. Backed by a strong performance on first serve - she won 69% of point on her first delivery over the course of the match - the set was sealed with a forehand onto the baseline, a fitting motif of an opener that she bossed.
An improvement in Stosur’s accuracy ensured that the second was to be a good deal more competitive, with the Australian initially making greater inroads with winners.
She was never able to edge in front, however. A lapse in her second service game of the set, in which her first serve percentage plummeted, invited Kudermetova to three break points, the second of which was taken. Though she was able to hit back immediately as she troubled her opponent’s serve for the first time, fortune contrived against her as a deflection off the net saw her fall behind once more.
This time, there was to be no coming back. Kudermetova positively held on serve before breaking Stosur for a third time in succession to move 5-2 clear.
The match was sealed with comfort as she set up a second round meeting with either Catherine Bellis or Marie Bouzkova, the player who beat her in three sets to deny her a spot in Brisbane last week.