Taiwan’s Chan Hao-ching and Kveta Peschke of the Czech Republic rallied from a set down to successfully negotiate the first round of the Sydney International women’s doubles yesterday.
Fourth seeds Chan and Peschke lost the first set to Russian duo Alla Kudryavtseva and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova before bouncing back to complete a 4-6, 6-4, 10-5 victory.
The Taiwanese-Czech pairing saved 11 of 14 break-point opportunities and converted three of five to complete the win in 1 hour, 41 minutes and set up a quarter-final clash with either Japanese veteran Kimiko Date-Krumm and Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic or wild-card pairing Belinda Bencic of Switzerland and Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic.
In the women’s singles, Samantha Stosur overcame some home-crowd jitters to beat Lucie Safarova 7-6 (7/3), 5-7, 6-3 in the first round, while Caroline Wozniacki’s Australian Open preparations took a hit when she was forced to withdraw with a wrist injury.
Stosur saved three break points to take a 3-2 lead in the third set, before breaking Safarova again when the Czech player double-faulted on back-to-back points.
“It was [a] relatively important win,” the Australian said. “It was good to step up and win the match after what happened last week, and I am very happy with it.”
Stosur, who won the 2011 US Open, has never been past the fourth round at the Australian Open and she has struggled at other tournaments Down Under, too. Last week at the Brisbane International, Stosur lost to Varvara Lepchenko 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 in the first round after leading 5-1 in the third set.
Stosur next faces Barbora Zahlavova Strycova of the Czech Republic in the second round after Wozniacki withdrew from their match with a left-wrist injury. The fourth-seeded Dane trailed 6-4, 1-1 when she walked to the net and said she could not continue.
Wozniacki was coming off a hard-fought loss to Venus Williams in the final of the ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand, on Saturday and the injury throws into doubt her fitness for the Australian Open next week.
In other matches, third seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland beat Alize Cornet of France 6-3, 6-2 and fifth seed Angelique Kerber of Germany defeated Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine 1-6, 6-4, 6-3.
Sixth seed Ekaterina Makarova of Russia, seventh seed Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia and Garbine Muguruza of Spain also won, while eighth seed Flavia Pennetta of Italy lost to Bulgarian qualifier Tsvetana Pironkova 6-3, 7-6 (7/4).
On the men’s side, fifth seed Leonardo Mayer beat Benjamin Becker 7-6 (7/3), 6-2 and sixth seed Pablo Cuevas defeated Nicolas Almagro 7-6 (7/5), 6-4.
At the Hobart International in Tasmania, Australia, Hsu Chieh-yu completed an unwanted clean sweep in the first round of the doubles as the last remaining Taiwanese player lost, joining Sunday’s first-round casualties Chuang Chia-jung and Chan Chin-wei.
Hsu and Nicola Melichar of the US were beaten 6-2, 6-3 by Spanish duo Silvia Soler-Espinosa and Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor in 47 minutes, the Spaniards converting five of nine break-point chances.
In the women’s singles, top seed Casey Dellacqua of Australia beat Lauren Davis of the US 6-4, 1-6, 6-4.
Also yesterday, third seed Camila Giorgi of Italy overcame 23 double faults to beat Australian wild-card entry Storm Sanders 5-7, 6-1, 7-6 (8/6), while second seed Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan defeated Soler-Espinosa 6-3, 6-4.
At the Heineken Open in Auckland, New Zealand, Adrian Mannarino of France beat Federico Delbonis 6-1, 6-1 in the first match of a draw gutted by late withdrawals.
In the other first-round matches, eighth seed Steve Johnson of the US defeated Joao Sousa of Portugal 7-5, 6-4 and Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany rallied to beat Austria’s Dominic Thiem 6-7 (6/8), 6-4, 6-3.
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