Germany’s Julia Goerges made a sound start to her Australian Open campaign by downing Russia’s Vera Dushevina 7-5 2-6 6-4 on Monday.
It wasn’t all easy going for the 18th seed, though, who hit 40 unforced errors and a battled through a second-set slump before advancing to the second round in a match that ticked just over two hours.
It’s Goerge’s fifth consecutive Australian Open appearance after reaching the fourth round last year when she fell to Agnieszka Radwanska in straight sets.
While pleased to advance to the next round, the 24-year-old said she wasn't thrilled with her game.
"I don’t think it was really a good performance from my side," Goerges said.
"Honestly, a win is a win in the end and you’re happy to be through to the second round but I have to put my level up and really work on my serve.
"I didn’t really play my game, I played quite flat which suits her (Dushevina) and I didn’t play with a lot of spin which is the safer way."
With the players trading service games and the score locked at 4-4, Dushevina had a handful of chances to take control of the set but couldn’t capitalise after failing to convert a single break point in six attempts.
The Russian would be left to rue her missed opportunities as Goerges broke her to love at 6-5 to win the opener.
Goerges’ aggressiveness brought her mixed results in the second set. While her 30 total winners looked impressive on the stat sheet they were tempered by 27 unforced errors, the free points helping Dushevina go up an early break at 1-1 and cruise then through the set to take it 6-2.
After exchanging breaks of serve to start the third – unforced errors and double faults the contributing factors – Goerges continued her aggressive play with her winners tally reaching 42. Up 5-4, the 18thseed closed out the match in typical fashion – a booming forehand winner down the line.
The loss saw Dushevina continue her poor performances Melbourne Park, bowing out in the opening round of the Slam for the sixth time in her last seven Australian Open appearances.
After reaching the fourth round of the Australian Open last January Goerges hopes to replicate her 2012 success but said she's not looking too far ahead.
"First of all I have to play the second round and then we’ll see how far it brings me," she said.
"But I definitely want to go better and get better even though there are a lot of tough opponents in this draw. I just have to step up my level in a very positive way and in the end we'll see how far it brings me."