The first round of the Taiwan Open saw a blockbuster match-up between Samantha Stosur and Danka Kovinic, which was tipped to be the most unpredictable match of the first round as both players. Stosur enters the match as the favourite despite not winning a match since the 2016 US Open as she is the higher-ranked player and has a 2-0 lead in their head to head record. The result turned out to be the expected one as Stosur strolled to a straight sets victory, with the match not living to the hype it received. This win also gave Stosur her first victory of the year.
Stosur strolls to the first set victory
It was a tight start to the match as both players exchanged service holds to start the match with. Kovinic held her serve to love in the opening game of the match before Stosur barely held onto her service game as Kovinic managed to get to deuce. Kovinic would rue the missed opportunity as she was broken immediately in the next game after unforced errors cost her greatly. Stosur was not able to hold onto the lead for long, though, as some inconsistent play gave the break back to Kovinic and returned level on serve in the match.
Nevertheless, Stosur earned the third straight break of the set as her solid groundstrokes and big returns troubled Kovinic, regaining the lead to have the advantage once again. This time, Stosur was finally able to consolidate the break of serve with a service hold, but not without any problems as Kovinic was once again able to get to deuce. With Stosur being more comfortable on the courts in the Taipei Arena, she soon played her best tennis as she broke serve for the third time in the match to have a double break lead and earn the chance to serve out the first set. The Australian did just so, as she served out the first set successfully after 34 minutes of play.
Kovinic puts up tough fight
After an exchange of service holds to start the second set with, it was the higher-ranked player who made the first breakthrough as Stosur broke serve at 1-1 to gain the advantage in the early stages of the second set, looking to close out the match in straight sets. Kovinic almost made an immediate reply but hit a backhand just long at 30-30 to give Stosur a game point, which she dutifully converted to consolidate the break of service and affirm her lead on the scoreboard.
Service holds to 30 followed until Stosur made yet another breakthrough at 4-2, breaking serve once more for a 5-2 lead and a chance to serve out the match. Kovinic stepped up her game at the right moment as she got one of the breaks back with some excellent forehands, before holding her serve to close the deficit to just one game. However, this time Stosur was able to successfully serve out the match, clinching the win after just 81 minutes.
Next up for Stosur
Stosur would next face either Francesca Schiavone in a repeat of the 2010 French Open final or qualifier Dalila Jakupovic in the second round, and would definitely be motivated by today’s victory to progress to the quarterfinals in her debut here.