Sydney International 2019: Daria Gavilova setback

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A frustrated Daria Gavrilova has vowed not to be a “good girl anymore” when she enters next week’s Australian Open without a win through the summer.

A week after losing her first match in Brisbane, the Aussie No. 2 fell in a 0-4 hole early in her round-one match against Yulia Putintseva at the Sydney International and couldn’t recover.

But the news was much better for Samantha Stosur who defied her poor home record to claim a first-round victory.

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Gavrilova looked a broken figure when she rolled her ankle and had her serve broken early in the second set, but the world No. 35 showed some fighting spirit to force a tiebreaker.

She then led 3-1 but lost six of the final seven points to eventually lose 6-1 7-6 (7-4).

The back-to-back first-round defeats put a massive dent in Gavrilova’s preparations for Melbourne, where she has reached the round of 16 on two occasions.

“It sucks. I always want to win, but the start of the season is not great. I felt like I was really off today. In the first set, I wasn’t myself,” Gavrilova said.

“I felt like that was the same last week.”

The former world No. 20 has long struggled to find the balance between keeping her emotions in check and using them as a catalyst for energy.

But she hopes to figure it all out in time for Melbourne Park.

“Obviously the grand slam is next, so hopefully I will find the Dasha that everyone knows and be up and about,” she said.

Meanwhile, Stosur appeared on her way to losing another tournament-opener on home soil when she lost the first set to former Australian Open finalist Dominika Cibulkova.

However, the 35-year-old, now ranked 74th in the world, wound back the clock by smashing 15 aces on her way to prevailing 6-3 3-6 4-6 on Ken Rosewall Arena.

The former US Open champion will now meet Timea Bacsinszky in the second round.

“I thought I played really well, and as the match went on I got better and better,” Stosur said.

“I thought I served great. I was really confident going into that last game because of all the momentum I felt like I had. Yeah, obviously really pleased.”

The victory is a major confidence boost ahead of next week’s Australian Open at Melbourne Park, where she hasn’t won a match since 2015.

Stosur has been criticised in recent years for a disappointing on home soil, and again lost her first match in Brisbane last week to 139th-ranked Marie Bouzkova. It was her fifth first-round exit in Brisbane in six years.

She also hasn’t made the quarter-finals in the harbour city since 2014, but will be buoyed by a vintage performance against the 25th-ranked Cibulkova.

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