The Associated PressSYDNEY (AP) — Sloane Stephens shook off three dropped service games in the opening set in a dramatic turn around to beat Ekaterina Alexandrova 0-6, 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-3) in her first-round match at the Sydney International.
Alexandrova had a chance to serve for the match at 5-3 in the second but fourth-seeded Stephens, the 2017 U.S. Open champion, rallied to survive the round. Stephens will next play Yulia Putintseva.
Ash Barty ousted 2017 French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko 6-3, 6-3 to advance to a second-round meeting with No. 1-ranked Simona Halep.
In other women’s matches, 2015 Sydney champion Petra Kvitova had a 6-1, 7-5 win over Aryna Sabalenka, Hsieh Su-wi beat Danielle Collins 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 and Priscilla Hon defeated Tatjana Maria 6-3, 7-6 (7-4).
In the men’s draw, eighth-seeded Andreas Seppi advanced 7-5, 2-6, 6-4 over Jeremy Chardy, Guillermo Garcia-Lopez beat Denis Kudla 7-5, 6-4, and Andrey Rublev ousted No. 6-seeded Lucas Pouille 6-2, 6-3.
Muguruza starts strong
Meanwhile, former Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza earned a 6-3, 6-4 win over Carla Suarez Navarro on Monday after a day interrupted by rain at the Sydney International.
Sam Stosur, the 2011 U.S. Open champion, had a rare win on Australian soil when she rallied to beat Dominika Cibulkova 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, a confidence-boosting result for the local hope ahead of the Australian Open, which starts next week.
Seventh-seeded Kiki Bertens beat Bernada Pera 7-5, 6-4, Timea Bacsinszky ousted ninth-seeded Anastasija Sevastova 6-7 (3-7), 6-4, 6-4.