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 today. 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 semifinals 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 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.
Nicolas Mahut advanced to the second round with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over fellow Frenchman Stephane Robert and Kyle Edmond held off American qualifier Ernesto Escobedo 7-6 (4), 7-6 (6).
In a late match interrupted by thunderstorms, seventh-seeded Grigor Dimitrov needed three match points before beating Steve Johnson 6-2, 6-3 on center court. Play on outside courts was postponed to Tuesday.