Her game was rusty and her wrist was hurting, but Sam Stosur’s summer of tennis has started on a winning note.
The Australian battled her way from 0-3 down in the final set to secure a 6-4 3-6 6-4 first round win over Slovakian qualifier Jana Cepelova at the Brisbane International on Monday.
The victory was far from fluid for the world No.27.
Cepelova’s world ranking of 147 hid a tricky opponent who holds a 2-2 record against top-five players, including a win over Serena Williams at Charleston in 2014.
Stosur trailed early in all three sets and had to receive treatment to her right wrist midway through the second set, but held tough to set up a second-round match with Spanish sixth seed Carla Suarez Navarro.
“I am really pleased to walk away with a win, especially being down in that third set and then find that ability to come back and play well and win it when you are down, to turn things around,” Stosur said.
“There was lots of positives I could take out of that.”
Stosur faces a quick turnaround with her clash with world No.12 Suarez Navarro to be held on Pat Rafter Arena on Tuesday evening.
Despite sporting an ice pack on her sore wrist, Stosur is confident she’ll be fit enough to take to the court.
“I’m not freaking out about it,” Stosur said.
“I need to go see my physio and do whatever we need to do tonight.
“Then tomorrow playing night match there is that little bit of extra time if it is a bit sore. I’m sure we’ll come up with a plan and be out on court ready to go.”
Suarez Navarro had a much more straightforward start to her 2016 season.
The 27-year-old picked up her third career win from as many meetings against adopted Australian Ajla Tomljanovic.
Croatian-born Tomljanovic later admitted she was struggling with an abdominal injury during the 6-1 6-2 loss and may have to withdraw from the upcoming Sydney International to ensure she’s right for the Australian Open.
Rising Swiss star Belinda Bencic made quick work of Italian veteran Sara Errani to set up a second-round clash with American qualifier Sam Crawford, who defeated Brisbane teenager Priscilla Hon in straight sets.
Other winners on Monday included seeded players Roberta Vinci and Angelique Kerber.
Defending champion Maria Sharapova begins her tournament on Tuesday against fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova.