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Stosur hangs on for breakthrough win

By AAP .
6 January 2014 07:43PM EST

SAM Stosur has blown out some rust in a nailbiting opening round victory at the Hobart International.

The top-seeded Australian has downed American qualifier Madison Brengle 6-7 (4-7) 6-1 7-6 (7-5) at the Domain Tennis Centre for her first win of the season.

In a rain-interrupted match that finished nearly five hours after it started, Stosur overcame the tough conditions and a determined world No.147 to progress.

Brengle saved four match points before Stosur punched home a volley to convert her fifth in a third-set tiebreaker.

Two rain breaks, wind gusts and temperatures that hovered around 15C made for a gruelling first set before world No.17 clicked into gear to win the second in just 19 minutes.

She broke in the third to lead 4-3 but failed to serve it out, Brengle saving three of the Australian's match points before taking it to a tiebreaker.

Stosur will meet either Spain's Silvia Soler-Espinosa or France's Kristina Mladenovic in the second round as she tunes up for the Australian Open, where she exited in round two last year.

The win will come as a relief after three straight losses at the Hopman Cup in Perth.

A frustrated Stosur had struggled to hold her serve, and find the middle of her racket, in the first.

The 29-year-old saved four break points in a marathon first service game but led 2-1 with a break when the first rain interruption came.

She broke again to lead 4-1 and served for the set at 5-4 but couldn't convert.

A second rain delay of nearly an hour-and-a-half didn't help and, after she'd led the tiebreaker 4-3, Stosur watched Brengle convert her first set point.

The second set couldn't have been more different as a dominant Stosur rediscovered her serve and raced to a 5-0 lead before closing it out.

Earlier on Monday, Australian Casey Dellacqua downed Belgian qualifier Alison Van Uytvanck 6-4 6-4.

Dellacqua will meet American Alison Riske in the second round.

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