Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Stosur wins in shaky start in 2011
The unfortunate player on the receiving end was qualifier Lucie Hradecka, who has been a top-60 player but is currently ranked 110.
Hradecka was on somewhat of a winning streak before she hit Stosur's wall. The Czech had won five matches to claim a Futures event overseas before her three wins in qualifying for her right to start in the main singles of the Brisbane International.
And the Prague 25-year-old raced to 4-1 in the first set before a capacity 5000-strong Pat Rafter Arena crowd.
Stosur looked as confused as some of her shot selections early in the first set. Then again it was the world No.6's first match since losing to Kim Clijsters in the semi-finals of the WTA Championships in Doha last November.
Stosur hit her straps and saved set points in the ninth game to level at 5-5 and then forced the set into a tiebreaker, racing away to claim it 7-1.
In the second set Stosur was on a roll. The serve was sharper, the groundstrokes were harder and more angled and it was the Australian who jumped out to a 4-0 lead. She has not lost to a player outside the top 100 in 17 months.
It was the fifth game before Hradecka held serve but by then it was too late. Stosur only needed one match point to wrap things up and now faces fellow Australian and world No.42, Jarmila Groth, in the second round.
Meanwhile, former world No.10 Daniela Hantuchova has been forced to withdraw from the tournament just hours before her first scheduled match against Russian Anna Chakvetadze.
The WTA medical staff said the 27-year-old Slovakian had a partial tear to her left Achilles tendon. It is not yet known if she will be fit enough to play the Australian Open in two weeks (January 17-31).