Hobart: Samantha Stosur has blown out some rust in a nail-biting opening round victory at the Hobart International, here, on Monday. The top-seeded Australian has downed American qualifier Madison Brengle 6-7 (4-7), 6-1, 7-6 (7-5) at the Domain Tennis Centre for her first win of the season.
In a rain-interrupted match that finished nearly five hours after it started, Stosur overcame the tough conditions and a determined world No. 147 to progress.
Brengle saved four match points before Stosur punched home a volley to convert her fifth in a third-set tie-breaker.
Two rain breaks, wind gusts and temperatures that hovered around 15 degrees made for a gruelling first set before the world No. 17 clicked into gear to win the second in just 19 minutes.
She broke in the third to lead 4-3 but failed to serve it out, Brengle saving three of the Australian’s match points before taking it to a tie-breaker. Stosur will meet either Spain’s Silvia Soler-Espinosa or France’s Kristina Mladenovic in the second round as she tunes up for the Australian Open, where she exited in round two last year.
The win will come as a relief after three straight losses at the Hopman Cup in Perth.
A frustrated Stosur had struggled to hold her serve, and find the middle of her racket, in the first.
The 29-year-old saved four break points in a marathon first service game but led 2-1 with a break when the first rain interruption came.
She broke again to lead 4-1 and served for the set at 5-4 but couldn’t convert. A second rain delay of nearly an hour-and-a-half didn’t help and, after she’d led the tie-breaker 4-3, Stosur watched Brengle convert her first set point.
Earlier on Monday, Australian Casey Dellacqua downed Belgian qualifier Alison Van Uytvanck 6-4, 6-4.
Dellacqua will meet American Alison Riske in the second round. (Agencies)