The 12th edition of the WTA Premier event in Brisbane kicked off on Monday with a big surprise, as Danielle Collins toppled the 4th seed Elina Svitolina 6-1, 6-1 in 56 minutes! It was their first meeting and the American played on a very high level, making a perfect return after being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and embracing the best possible start of the season.
Danielle lost 15 points behind the initial shot, eight of those in the first game when she saved four break chances to avoid an early setback. After that, it was all about her throughout the match, delivering one good hold after another and stealing 62% of the return points to score five breaks from ten opportunities and sail into the last 16.
Never finding her rhythm, Elina got broken in the fourth and sixth games of the first set, with Collins clinching the opener after a hold at love at 5-1. Staying on the winning course, Collins rattled off the last six games of the second set to storm over the better-ranked rival and march over the finish line finding the right form ahead of the Australian Open where she has to defend the semi-final points.
The Aussie veteran Samantha Stosur prevailed against Angelique Kerber 7-6, 7-6 in an hour and 54 minutes, beating the German for the first time since Madrid 2015. As the result suggests, there was nothing to separate the rivals on the court, with Stosur taking six points more than her opponent, which made all the difference in the tie breaks.
The Aussie could have won the opening set more efficiently, leading 5-2 before Kerber bounced back, sharing six breaks in total and serving well in set number two to reach another breaker. Three powerful holds and breaks in games two and four pushed Samantha 5-2 up in no time at all before Kerber pulled the break back in game nine, returning to the positive side of the scoreboard and securing another break at 5-5 to rattle off four straight games and serve for the set.
Stosur broke back in the last moment to set the tie break that she won 7-5 for a massive boost ahead of set number two. There, there were no breaks and it was Stosur who took the tie break 7-4 after a service winner for a massive win and the place in the second round.
The young American Sofia Kenin prevailed against Anastasija Sevastova 7-6, 6-4 in an hour and 34 minutes, beating the Latvian for the second time in as many matches. Sofia repelled three out of five break chances and added three breaks to her tally to find herself in the next round.
They traded breaks in games seven and eight of the opening set and it was Kenin who had the momentum in the tie break, winning it 7-1 and racing into a 3-0 lead in set number two. The Latvian broke back in game five to stay on the positive side of the scoreboard until game ten when she cracked under pressure, getting broken and handing the win to world no.
14. Barbora Strycova defeated the 7th seed Johanna Konta 6-2, 6-3, 6-3 in two hours and 13 minutes for her third win over the Briton in as many encounters. There were 23 break chances up for grabs and it was the Czech who saved nine out of 13 to limit the damage in her games, earning six breaks (four in the decider) to oust world no.
12 who has been dealing with a knee injury since the US Open. Alison Riske needed an hour and 18 minutes to dismiss Karolina Muchova 6-4, 6-2, suffering one break and securing four to control the scoreboard and kick off the season with a win.
In the battle of two Aussies with a wild card, Ajla Tomljanovic beat Priscilla Hon 6-2, 4-6 6-4 after two hours and 18 minutes, breaking the younger compatriot at 3-3 in the decider and bringing the victory home from there.