Second seed Victoria Azarenka has survived an early scare at the Brisbane International, after being pushed to the limit by Slovak-born Australian and world No.98 Jarmila Gajdosova in their second-round match.
Visibly frustrated by a series of dubious line calls, Azarenka finally settled against an impressive Gajdosova to win 7-6(4) 7-5 and proceed to the third round, keeping alive the hopes of a showdown against top seed Ana Ivanovic.
It was a good day all round for the top-ranked women, with third seed Marion Bartoli from France also making it through.
Azarenka, the world No.15, thought she’d had the match in the bag late in the second set, when a Gajdosova ball appeared to sail over the baseline.
But it was controversially over-ruled by the umpire, prompting an angry outburst from the Belarusian, who in turn, received jeers from the crowd.
Azarenka later denied she let her emotions get the better of her in the two hours-plus match, but gave full credit to her opponent who will marry Australian tennis player Sam Groth next month.
“There were a few bad calls but that’s life,” the 19 year old said.
“If I got frustrated I probably would have lost.”
She did admit to losing her cool once the game was won, apologising for a barely-there handshake with the Melbourne-based Gajdosova.
“It’s tough, it’s hot out there, there was just a few bad calls and I was just really a little bit pissed about that,” she said.
Azarenka was expecting an easier match against Gajdosova, who has played above her world ranking at the tournament, after an impressive drubbing of China’s Shuai Peng – ranked world No.40 – in the first round.
Gajdosova was taking away plenty of positives from Brisbane, although she said she was still working on eliminating the drop shot from her game.
The 21 year old has an unusual agreement with her coach – drop shots during matches are punishable by sit-up.
“I have to do 50 sit-ups for each drop shot, so I’m about up to 200 by now,” she said with a giggle.
“I will have a six pack.”
Unconcerned with her lowly ranking, Gajdosova is taking some time out to prepare for her wedding with Groth, whom she joined on the sidelines after he was ousted from the men’s draw on Monday.
In the only other seeded women’s match, Bartoli said she was feeling confident after overcoming unseeded Melinda Czink from Hungary 5-7 6-3 6-1.
Italy’s Tathiana Garbin was the other winner in the day competition over Russia’s Alisa Kleybanova.
Men’s Singles Rd 1
Florent Serra (FRA) d Juan Carlos Ferrero (ESP) 6-3 7-6(3)
 Tomas Berdych (CZE) d Brydan Klein (AUS) 6-0 6-4
Men’s Doubles Rd 1
 M Damm/R Lindstedt d L Arnold Ker/B Soares 7-5 7-5
T Parrott/F Polasek d  M Melo/A Sa 3-6 6-2 [10-1]
Women’s Singles Rd 2
 Victoria Azarenka (BLR) d Jarmila Gajdosova (SVK) 7-6(4) 7-5
Tathiana Garbin (ITA) d Alisa Kleybanova (RUS) 4-6 6-4 6-2
 Marion Bartoli (FRA) d Melinda Czink (HUN) 5-7 6-3 6-1
Women’s Doubles Rd 1
 L Huber/C Black d S Bremond/O Govortsova 6-3 6-3
 T Sun/Z Yan d I Benesova/Y Shvedova 3-6 7-6(12) [10-6]
Have you picked your team of tennis aces?
You have until the start of play at the Australian Open to select a team of 16 men and 16 women in our online fantasy game SuperTennis.
Points will be awarded for the performance of your team members and you can switch the mix around right up until 19 January.
The SuperTennis selector with the most points wins a cash prize of AUD$5000.
Go to www.supertennis.com.au to register your team today.