Petkovic aiming for more Maria glory

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Petkovic aiming for more Maria glory

Andrea Petkovic’s 2011 Australian Open victory against Maria Sharapova played a key role in the German rediscovering her love of tennis.

The 28-year-old admits she hated the sport at the end of the 2015 season.

She even contemplated disappearing into the melting pot of New York with nothing more than $100 in her pocket rather than head back on tour as she waited for a plane back to Europe.

Brought back from the brink, Petkovic says watching a replay of that Melbourne Park win over the five-time grand slam champion was one of the tools she used to remember what she enjoyed about tennis.

“That was one of the matches I used to try and remember when I was having fun and when I was really enjoying being out there,” she said.

“Everything that comes with tennis that I had lost in the past couple of months.”

Now committed to another year on tour, Petkovic made a winning start to her year on Sunday as she cruised into the second round of the Brisbane International with a 6-1 6-2 victory over Brazilian Teliana Pereira.

That victory means she faces a likely second round match against a familiar foe – defending event champion Sharapova.

The Russian will face Petkovic if she can overcome compatriot Ekaterina Makarova in her first round match later this week.

“It’s a great challenge for me,” Petkovic said.

“Those are the matches you want before a grand slam.”

Another player safely through to the second round is former Australian Open finalist Dominika Cibulkova, who overcame a spirited performance by Belgium’s Yanina Wickmayer.

The Slovakian, who missed four months of 2015 after undergoing achilles surgery, defeated Wickmayer 3-6 6-4 6-4 in a testing first match of the season.

Swiss fifth seed Timea Bacsinszky has been bounced out of the tournament though, losing to 2013 Brisbane finalist Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

Pavlyuchenkova will now play France’s Alize Cornet in the second round after Cornet beat compatriot Kristina Mladenovic 6-3 6-4.

Monday’s action features seeded women’s players Carla Suarez Navarro, Roberta Vinci and Angelique Kerber as well as former world No.1s Victoria Azarenka and Jelena Jankovic.

Spanish sixth seed Suarez Navarro will face adopted Australian Ajla Tomljanovic in the first match of the day on Pat Rafter Arena.

Sam Stosur’s first round match against Slovakian qualifier Jana Cepelova headlines the Australians to play on Monday along with youngsters Priscilla Hon, John-Patrick Smith and Ben Mitchell.

Sam Groth will complete the evening session following Azarenka’s match against Russian qualifier Elena Vesnina when he takes on Korean Hyeon Chung.

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