Muguruza sees off Stosur

- Agence France-Presse, BRISBANE

Jan 3, 2017-

French Open champion Garbine Muguruza finished off a first-round match for the first time at the Brisbane International, and extended Sam Stosur’s unhappy run in the process with a 7-5, 6-7 (2), 7-5 win on Monday.

The fourth-seeded Muguruza saved three set points in the first and rallied from a break down in the third to finish off in 2 hours, 45 minutes on a humid afternoon. In two previous trips to the season-opening tournament, Muguruza struggled with injuries and hadn’t completed a match. “It was a battle,” Muguruza said. Stosur “played very well. She served like a beast. It took three hours for that battle to see what happens in the end.”

Muguruza beat Stosur in the French Open semi-finals last year and went on to beat then No 1-ranked Serena Williams in the final to claim her first major title. The loss extended a slump for Stosur, the 32-year-old Australian who hasn’t won a competitive singles match since the first round of the U.S. Open in September and hasn’t advanced past the second round at her home tournament in Queensland state.

No 5 Svetlana Kuznetsova, No 6 Elina Svitolina and No 8 Roberta Vinci were among the women’s seeds advancing on Monday. Svitolina, the only player to beat both Serena Williams and Angelique Kerber in 2016, opened with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Olympic champion Monica Puig. Kuznetsova beat American Louisa Chirico 6-2 6-4 and Vinci was pushed all the way in a 7-6 (4), 6-7 (4), 7-6 (5) win over qualifier Kateryna Bondarenko. American qualifier Asia Mohammed advanced with a 7-6 (5), 6-1 win over Donna Vekic, and Zhang Shuai of China beat Laura Siegemund 4-6, 7-6 (3), 6-3.

In the men’s draw, another of Australia’s local hopes went out in the first round with No 8-seeded David Ferrer beating error-prone Bernard Tomic 6-3, 7-5. 

 

Rain plays spoilsports

AUCKLAND: Rain disrupted the first day of the WTA Auckland Classic on Monday with only two matches completed, delaying the start of top-seed Serena Williams’s campaign.

Williams was forced to wait nearly three hours past her scheduled start time, before her first-round match against Pauline Parmentier of France and other night matches were postponed because of persistent rain. “The weather has not been kind to us and unfortunately we have to abandon the session tonight,” tournament director Carl Budge told the handful of hardy spectators who braved the weather.

Former world top-10 Lucie Safarova cruised through her first match against fellow Czech Denisa Allertova 6-1, 6-2, thanks to her markedly superior serve. Safarova fired down seven aces while Allertova served up nine double faults. In the second completed match, Japan’s Kurumi Nara comfortably beat Antonia Lottner of Germany 6-2, 6-2. 

Fifth seed Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands was 5-3 up on American Lauren Davis in their first set when rain halted play. (AFP)

Published: 03-01-2017 08:58

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