Fresh from a semifinal appearance at the Brisbane International, women’s top seed Lesia Tsurenko is through to the second round of qualifying at Australian Open 2013 after a hard-fought three-set 6-3 6-7(5) 6-3 win over American Bethanie Mattek-Sands on Thursday afternoon.
In a match that lasted nearly three hours, Tsurekno overcame a determined showing from Mattek-Sands while battling tricky conditions on Show Court 3.
“I’m bit tired ... I was really surprised when I saw two hours after just two sets,” Tsurenko said after the match.
“For me, it wasn’t very hot today. But I don’t like to play with the wind. It’s a big problem for me, especially when your opponent plays with such variety on court.”
Despite losing in the final round of qualifying at Brisbane, the world No. 83 was granted a lucky loser entry into the tournament’s main draw following the withdrawal of second seed Maria Sharapova.
Tsurenko made the most of the opportunity, beating the likes of Daniela Hantuchova en route to the semifinals.
“That was very unusual for me. I was never a lucky loser before. That was quite a nice experience, especially when you get the spot of a seeded player and you win a few matches,” she said.
Tsurenko will be hoping her good fortune continues when she takes on Ukraine’s Maryna Zanevska, who beat American veteran Jill Craybas 4-6 6-2 6-2.
“I’m feeling quite fit now, so I hope to do my best tomorrow,” she said.
Earlier on Thursday, Sydney-born Brit Johanna Konta advanced to the second round of qualifying after she recorded a 6-3 6-7(8) 6-4 victory over Latvia’s Anastasija Sevastova.
Recently named in the British Fed Cup team, Konta lost a tense second set tiebreak but was able to re-group and serve out the deciding set.
“I just worked on focusing all my energy into staying calm and making sure I could carry that over into the third set,” she said.
After spending her childhood in Australia, the 21-year-old moved to the United Kingdom as a teenager and was granted citizenship last year, and admitted it was a little strange to return to her country of birth as a foreigner.
“I trained here, (Melbourne Park) is actually where I learned to play,” she said.
Konta will meet China’s Yi-Miao Zhou, who upset 11th seed Eva Birnerova 6-4 6-3.
Meanwhile, Australian Open 2012 junior semifinalist and Wimbledon junior champion Eugenie Bouchard overcame a slow start to topple Brazilian Teliana Pereira 4-6 6-3 6-2 on Court 12.
Fourth-seed Tatjana Malek is also through to the second round after defeating American Madison Brengle 6-3 6-2.
On Show Court 3, Australian Anastasia Rodionova defeated Italy’s Nasstasja Burnett in three sets, 7-5 0-6 6-4, while compatriot Monique Adamczak had a first-round victory with a 6-1 2-6 6-4 win over 20th-seeded German Dinah Pfizenmaier.
Adamczak will meet Uzbekistan’s Akgul Amanmuradova in the second round.