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Stosur battles to second round

By AAP .
14 January 2013 02:27PM EST

NOTED front-runner Sam Stosur survived a scare to progress to the second round of the Australian Open in Melbourne.

Stosur had to hold her nerve during a first-set tiebreaker before putting away the free-swinging Kai-Chen Chang 7-6 (7-3) 6-3 on day one on Monday to break her summer duck.

With a remarkable 53-0 record after winning the first set in grand slam tournament matches, Stosur would have been hugely relieved to nick the tiebreaker against her Taiwanese opponent.

The victory was Stosur's first in six matches in Australia dating back to last summer and it put the 2011 US Open champion into a second-round clash with Jie Zheng or fellow Chinese player Yuxuan Zhang.

Jie, who made the last four at Melbourne Park in 2010, beat Stosur last week in Sydney.

For now, though, Stosur will be savouring a desperately needed breakthrough after a sorry run of outs in front of her home fans.

Despite her relatively low ranking of No.86 in the world, Chang was never going to be a pushover for Australia's ninth seed.

Chang edged Stosur in a third-set tiebreaker in their only previous meeting, in Osaka last October.

Stosur made a promising start in their meeting on Monday, firing down a wide-serving ace on the very first point of the match.

She safely held but dropped serve to trail 2-1 after shanking a forehand and pulling a backhand wide.

Stosur immediately broke back, only to double-fault to drop serve for a second time and fall behind 3-2.

She reeled off three straight games but was unable to serve out the set at 5-3, netting a forehand to allow Chang to get back on serve.

As Chang began to boss Stosur from the baseline, the signs were ominous - especially given the Queenslander's record of only having won six from 38 matches from a set behind at a grand slam.

But after pocketing the first set and her confidence up, Stosur gained a key early break in the second set to push ahead 2-0 and was able to keep her nose in front before serving out the match after one hour and 42 minutes.

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