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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Sam Stosur survived a tough examination of her title credentials when she recovered to beat Russian Elena Vesnina 3-6 7-6 6-1 in the first round of the U.S. Open on Monday.
The fifth-seed Australian, runner-up at the French Open in June, was struggling when Vesnina led by a set and a break of serve but stormed back to win after one hour 52 minutes.
Stosur arrived in New York trying to shrug off a muscle injury to her right arm and was outplayed early on by world number 64 Vesnina, who had won their only previous meeting, in New Haven last year.
The Russian, ranked as high as 22 just 10 months ago, attacked Stosur's backhand and broke in the eighth game before serving out for the opening set.
A big upset looked in the cards when Vesnina broke again in the opening game of the second set but that seemed to wake Stosur from her slumber and she broke straight back.
Stosur won 10 straight points as she broke to lead 3-1 but handed the break straight back when she double-faulted in the fifth game.
The two went toe-to-toe throughout the rest of the set but Stosur took command in the tiebreak to win it 7-2.
That seemed to take the fight out of Vesnina and the fifth seed cruised through the decider, breaking three times and clinching victory with a crisp backhand pass down the line.
In the second round, Stosur will play another Australian, Anastasia Rodionova.
Editing by Frank Pingue