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Stosur gives Aus winning start

Stosur gave Australia a winning start at the Hopman Cup, defeating Germany's Anna-Lena Groenefeld 6-3, 7-5.

tennis Updated: Dec 31, 2005 12:13 IST
Barry Wood (Reuters)
Barry Wood (Reuters)

Samantha Stosur gave host nation Australia a winning start at the Hopman Cup in Perth on Saturday, defeating Germany's Anna-Lena Groenefeld 6-3, 7-5.

Stosur, who won just two games against her opponent in their only previous clash, did not face a break point until she served for victory at 6-5.

She made a perfect start when a nervous Groeneveld double-faulted twice and then netted a backhand to give Stosur a confidence-boosting break for 2-0. Groenefeld then had to resist a break point at 4-1, before the Australian served out the set to love.

The second set went on serve until 4-4, when Groenefeld had to fight off four break points to hold serve. Stosur then held two more break points at 5-5, breaking by forcing a backhand error.

But Groenefeld responded well to a pressure situation, holding off three match points before netting a return on the fourth.

"I was a little bit nervous in that last game, and in the end I was very happy to pull it out," said Stosur. "She hit a couple of winners when she was match point down. She played hard and really gave it her best shot."

"I just tried to play aggressive and play the way I like playing, hitting the ball and trying to mix it up whenever I can."

Teimuraz Gabashvili, who replaced the injured Marat Safin in the Russian team, has himself been replaced by 26-year-old Yuri Schukin after suffering an injury at a Challenger tournament in Doha.

Berlin-based Schukin, who is expected to arrive in Perth around midnight on New Year's Eve, will partner Svetlana Kuznetsova against the United States on Tuesday.

First Published: Dec 31, 2005 12:13 IST