Sam Stosur has gritted out a 4-6 6-2 7-5 win over Francesca Schiavone on Tuesday in the second round of the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo.
The Australian was forced to battle for almost two-and-a-half hours before subduing the 37th ranked Schiavone, who has endured a lean season after spending much of 2010 and 2011 in the top 10.
Despite her lowly ranking, Schiavone again caused Stosur trouble, having won three of their past five matches – including the 2010 Roland Garros final – and almost making it four-from-six.
The Italian recovered quickly from a break in the opening game of the match, getting proceedings back on serve in the second game and breaking Stosur again in the 10th game to take the opening set.
The world No.9 hit back with a vengeance in the second, winning 86 per cent of first serve points and saving all three break points she faced to eventually level the match.
In a nail-biting finish, Stosur fended off seven of the eight break points she faced and managed to break Schiavone’s serve twice to help her to victory.
It was not the cleanest of matches – Stosur committed eight double faults and served at just over 50 per cent, but still managed to play through the rust that came from not having taken to the court for almost three weeks.
She next faces 12th seed Dominika Cibulkova, who reached the third round thanks to an emphatic 6-0 6-3 win over China Zheng Jie.