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Cibulkova, Petkovic off to winning starts

3 January 2016, by

Former Australian Open finalist Dominika Cibulkova got her 2016 season off to a solid start with a tough three-set triumph over Belgian Yanina Wickmayer on Pat Rafter Arena on Sunday.

The Slovak world No.41 recovered from being 4-3 and 0-40 down on her serve in the third set to hold off her 38th-ranked opponent 3-6, 6-4, 6-4.

She awaits the winner of US Open finalist Roberta Vinci and former No.1 Jelena Jankovic in Round 2.

German world No.24 Andrea Petkovic also advanced with a convincing 6-1, 6-2 over Brazilian Teliana Pereira.

The former Brisbane International runner-up will meet the winner of defending champion Maria Sharapova and Ekaterina Makarova in the second round.

Cibulkova is on the comeback trail after an injury-interrupted 2015, where she missed four months of the season to undergo Achilles-related surgery.

Swiss fifth seed Timea Bacsinszky was the first seeded casualty after being defeated in an opening round by Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

The Russian took just over an hour to defeat the world No.12 6-2, 6-1 and move into the second round.

American Varvara Lepchenko is also through to the second round, defeating Slovakia’s Anna Karolina Schmiedlova in straight sets to set up a clash with Wimbledon finalist and No.2 seed Garbine Muguruza.