Doha, Qatar, 14 February 2017 | Reuters

Sam Stosur has made a winning start at the Qatar Open, beating Latvian Anastasija Sevastova 7-5 6-4.

World No.21 Stosur took an early break and raced to a 4-1 lead in the opening set in Doha.

The 32-year-old Australian gave it back just as quickly though.

Her forehand, which helped her achieve the break, went awry as she made a string of errors to allow world No.35 Sevastova to break back and level at 4-4.

Stosur was forced to rely on her serve to get her out of trouble before Sevastova gave up the first set with a double fault.

The pair held serve in the second set, with Stosur doing well to stave off three break points in the fifth game before taking a 3-2 lead.

Rain halted play for two hours with the Australian leading 4-3 before Stosur closed out the match, needing 11 minutes after the delay.

She is the first player to win through to the second round at the Premier-level event; she will next face No.8 seed Barbora Strycova, should the Czech get past wildcard Fatma Al Nabhani of Oman.