NEW YORK (Reuters) - Sam Stosur survived a tough examination of her title credentials at the U.S. Open on Monday and then shrugged off concerns that she could be hampered by a nagging right arm problem.
The fifth-seed Australian missed two recent tournaments because of the injury but showed no signs of a problem as she recovered to beat Russian Elena Vesnina 3-6 7-6 6-1 in a testing first-round battle.
The 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.
“The arm is 100 percent fine again, so I am pleased with that progress, for sure,” Stosur told reporters. “To now play another tight three setter and not have any problems (is good). Hopefully that’s going to keep going that way.”
World number 64 Vesnina had won their only previous meeting, in New Haven last year and the Russian, ranked as high as 22 just 10 months ago, 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 broke three times and clinched victory with a crisp backhand pass down the line to set up a meeting with another Australian, Anastasia Rodionova
“I think getting the break back early in the second set and then going up a break really helped to keep my mind thinking that I was still in there with a chance,” she said.
“I actually felt good going into the tiebreak. I felt I’d been playing a little bit better throughout that set. So to win that comfortably I think that kind of rolled through the third.”
Editing by Frank Pingue