Sam returns to form in Osaka
Australia’s Samantha Stosur returned to form at the scene of her maiden WTA title with a straight-sets victory over local hope Sachie Ishizu at the Japan Women’s Open on Monday.
The top seed, who has already clinched her place in this month’s prestigious season-ending WTA Championships in Doha, crushed the Wimbledon junior finalist 6-0 6-3.
It was a welcome return to form for Stosur after back-to-back first-up losses in Tokyo and Beijing in the past fortnight.
The hardcourt tournament also includes former champions Marion Bartoli of France, Jill Craybas of the US and Kimiko Date Kurumm of Japan.
Second seed Bartoli overwhelmed her compatriot Julie Coin 6-2 6-1 and now takes on Stefanie Voegele of Switzerland, who defeated Sophie Ferguson of Australia 6-4 7-6(5).
Craybas and sixth seed Date will take on qualifiers in the first round.
Russia’s Maria Kirilenko, the fourth seed, was another comfortable 6-1 6-0 winner, over Japan’s Kurumi Nara, and will play Chang Kai-Chen of Chinese Taipei in the second round.
Chang, who upset then world No.1 Dinara Safina in Tokyo a year ago to cause a sensation in her home town, outclassed American Lilia Osterloh 7-5 6-4.
In other first-round action, American Coco Vandeweghe, who reached the quarterfinals at the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo two weeks ago, breezed past fifth seed Alla Kudryavtseva of Russia 6-1 6-2.