For many years, Aussie Sam Stosur was only known as a doubles player – and one at the very top – but she decided to see how good she could also be at singles. This change in her outlook has proven to be a good one, as she now hovers inside or around the top ten and has a Grand Slam under her belt, the 2011 US Open title. Playing this week at the HP Open in Osaka, Japan, as the number one seed, this tournament brings back happy memories as Sam won her first singles title here in 2009. In the first round this year she met Erika Sema, the Japanese number five who is ranked at 164, and had a relatively easy match to secure her place in the second round with a 6-4 6-2 win. Sema played well above her ranking, even breaking the famed Stosur serve once in the first set, but ultimately the Aussie was too strong and was off the court after an hour and a quarter.
Kai-Chen Chang of Chinese Taipei, ranked 3 in her country and 134 in the WTA rankings, took on the American number 3 Christina Mchale, the WTA’s number 32 and third seed in this tournament. In a hard fought match which lasted close to two hours, Chang came out on top with a 6-3 7-6 (7-5) win. Chang led 3-0 and 5-3 in the second set and battled hard to get to the tie breaker and then held her nerve against the much higher ranked player to really earn her place in the second round, where she will take on Casey Dellaqua, conqueror of Japan’s Kimiko Date-Krumm.