Sakkari struggles against Zidansek but reaches Adelaide second round

World number six Maria Sakkari advanced to the second round of the Adelaide International at Memorial Drive on Monday by grinding out a 6-2, 0-6, 6-4 victory over Slovenian Tamara Zidansek.

Maria Sakkari in action.   -  Getty Images for WTA

World number six Maria Sakkari advanced to the second round of the Adelaide International at Memorial Drive on Monday by grinding out a 6-2, 0-6, 6-4 victory over Slovenian Tamara Zidansek while local favourite Priscilla Hon stunned Petra Kvitova 6-7(4), 7-5, 6-2.

"It didn't feel great, to be honest, it wasn't a good match from my side," said Sakkari, who reached the semifinals at the French and U.S. Opens last year.

"But I found a way to win, and sometimes that's enough, and I'm excited to be in the second round."

Australia's Hon lost a tight first set against world number 17 Kvitova but raised her game in the next two to outclass the double Wimbledon champion and seal her first top 20 victory.

"I can't explain how much I've been waiting for this moment," said Hon. "I was injured for almost a year, so I was even more pumped to come out on tour and focus on what I've been wanting to do for the past couple of years."

Sakkari ranked third at Adelaide, won a first set that was more keenly contested than the scoreline suggested before slumping dramatically in the second.

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Zidansek broke serve in the first game after Sakkari's unsuccessful challenge of a line call on the final point and backed that up by holding her serve, then breaking the Greek again to lead 3-0.

The Slovenian continued to punish the Greek's struggles on her serve and claimed the second set without dropping a game.

Sakkari secured an early break in the third set to get back on track, and while Zidansek fought back hard, the Greek player eventually booked her place in the next round with another break in the final game.

She was joined in the next round by US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez, who overcame Russia's Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-3, 6-4.

The 19-year-old Canadian was flawless on serve and did not face a single break point throughout the match, while Alexandrova was undone by seven double faults and a series of unforced errors off her forehand wing.

Another local hope, Ajla Tomljanovic, who reached her maiden Grand Slam quarter-final at Wimbledon last year, also went through as she claimed a 6-4, 7-6(5) win over Britain's Heather Watson.

Defending champion Iga Swiatek from Poland will face a qualifier in the opening round while the top-ranked Ash Barty and Aryna Sabalenka have received byes to the second round of the $848,000 event, a warm-up for the Australian Open, which begins in Melbourne on Jan. 17.

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