Charleston, USA, 3 April 2012 | Matt Trollope

Anastasia Rodionova was a shining light at the Family Circle Cup for Australia on a day where two of her compatriots, Jarmila Gajdosova and Jelena Dokic, fell in the opening round.

Rodionova, who currently sits at world No.98, drew the experienced Melinda Czink of Hungary in her opening match, requiring three sets before ultimately prevailing.

Shrugging off a disappointing second set, the naturalised Australian romped through the third set to complete a 6-2 2-6 6-1 victory in one hour and 20 minutes on the green clay at the Daniel Island Tennis Centre.

Rodionova’s serve was the difference throughout the match – she landed 74 per cent of her first serves and smacked five aces, compared to Czink’s 58 per cent first serve percentage and seven double faults.

In the second round, Rodionova will face No.10 seed Anabel Medina Garrigues of Spain, who upended American Melanie Oudin in three sets.
Rodionova joined compatriot Sam Stosur in the last 32, with the world No.5 receiving a bye into the second round. Both are scheduled to play late in the day on Tuesday, with Stosur taking on American Jamie Hampton.

However, for the other Aussies in the draw, Monday was not such a happy day in South Carolina.

No.16 seed Gajdosova suffered a disappointing exit at the hands of Swiss qualifier Stefanie Voegele, falling 6-4 2-6 6-4 in one-and-three-quarter hours.

Playing in Charleston for the first time since 2007, and in her first main draw appearance, Gajdosova struggled on serve, her eight aces cancelled out by nine double faults. She won just 28 per cent of points behind a shaky second serve.

It was an unfortunate loss given some of the momentum Gajdosova had built up over the past month during the US spring hardcourt swing.

She falls to a 6-9 win-loss record in 2012.

Meanwhile, Jelena Dokic’s forgettable 2012 continued, with the former world No.4 having to retire in the first set of her first round match against Kazakhstan’s Galina Voskoboeva.

Dokic was trailing 3-4 before she called it quits, citing a right wrist injury.

It’s the second time in her past three events that Dokic has been forced to withdraw with the injury – she played just one game in her first round match at Indian Wells against Gisela Dulko before retiring.

Dokic has won just three of her past 12 singles matches.

The Family Circle Cup is an historic event on the women’s tennis calendar, established the same year the Women’s Tennis Association was founded in 1973.

That year it was the first women’s tournament to offer $100,000 in prizemoney, and the first to be broadcast on network television. It is the longest-running women’s-only professional tennis tournament in the world.

Past champions include Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf, Martina Hingis, Jennifer Capriati, Venus and Serena Williams, Justine Henin and Sam Stosur.