Gavrilova advances despite Sydney delays

Australian No.2 Daria Gavrilova is adamant she won’t be relying on her strong finish to the 2016 season as a springboard for next week’s grand slam in Melbourne.

Gavrilova put a disappointing week at the Hopman Cup behind her with a scrappy 6-3 7-6 (7-1) win over Donna Vekic in her Sydney International opener on Monday night.

The 22-year-old was heading towards a comfortable victory before two short rain delays disrupted her rhythm, allowing the Serbian back into the contest.

With match point in sight as the first showers set in at Sydney Olympic Park, Gavrilova resorted to helping officials to dry showcourt one in an attempt to swiftly close out the victory.

“I kind of probably spent too much energy thinking of the rain. And then it got on my nerves a little bit. I started just wasting energy on (irrelevant) things that I can’t even control,” she said.

“Pretty silly. It should have been over before the rain, because I felt like I had opportunities in second set on her serve to break her serve again.

“But then I didn’t. I missed a few easy putaways, and, yeah, I think I was blaming myself for not closing it out before the rain.”

The win is a major confidence-boost for the world No. 25, who lost two of her three matches in the Hopman Cup last week.

It came after a stellar end to last year, when she reached the final of the Kremlin Cup in Moscow, a semi-final in Hong Kong and recorded wins over world No.1 Angelique Kerber and No. 3 Carla Suarez Navarro.

“I wish the season continued from then,” she said.

“(But) it’s a new year. I don’t really think about the last few months of the season.”

Gavrilova faces world No.10 Johanna Konta on Tuesday.

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