“Former Brisbane champion Kaia Kanepi has fought through a tough first-round match in her quest to become just the first woman to win dual Brisbane International titles.
The powerful Estonian had to overcome a second-set hiccup to end Russian qualifier Alexandra Panova’s tournament in three sets, 6-3 6-7(8) 6-2.
Kanepi now moves into the second round where she will face either eighth seed Carla Suarez Navarro or lucky loser Su-Wei Hsieh.
Earlier, ninth seed Dominika Cibulkova defeated another qualifier in Heather Watson. The 2011 Brisbane quarterfinalist took 96 minutes to defeat Watson 6-4 6-3.
“It was a really good match and I didn’t expect to play so good,” said Cibulkova who arrived in Australia on Saturday.
“It’s not easy to play a qualifier because they are used to the surface and they’ve been here a few days before you, so I was really expecting a tough match.
“I was expecting that she was going to play good and I may not play so well, but it turned out that I was playing good and it was a really good match.”
The win for the 23rd-ranked Cibulkova means she will now play Japanese veteran Kimiko Date-Krumm in the second round.
It’s never easy to play her, she’s playing her own style of tennis and she’s using your power and she’s running like hell so it’s never easy.”
Other winners today included fourth seed Jelena Jankovic who outclassed Francesca Schiavone 6-2 7-6(6) and eighth seed Carla Suarez Navarro defeated lucky loser Su-Wei Hsieh6-2 6-1.