Eastbourne, England:Fifth-seeded Nicole Vaidisova fought off a strong challenge from Australian Samantha Stosur 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 to reach the second round of the Eastbourne International on Monday.
In the only other first-round matches, Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic edged Anna-Lena Groenefeld 7-6 (0), 7-6 (5), leaving the German with only four wins this year, and Alicia Molik, who has struggled to return from a career-threatening inner-ear infection, surrendered a match point as she slumped to a 1-6, 6-3, 7-6 (3) defeat by 204th-ranked wild card Melanie South.
Vaidisova and Stosur struggled to find any rhythm, and after an exchange of breaks at 2-2, Stosur took the next three games to claim the first set.
Stosur failed to maintain her momentum as the second set got under way, hitting two double faults as the Czech broke at love to lead 1-0. Stosur leveled at 2-2, but Vaidisova went on to level on sets by breaking to lead 5-4 and giving up just one point in the last three games of the set.
In the final set, Vaidisova failed to convert five break points in a nine-deuce game at 1-1, but then broke to lead 3-2 when Stosur mis-hit a forehand.
"She came out hitting well and for me it was the first match on grass and getting used to it again," said Vaidisova, a French Open quarterfinalist. "It was a little fight but I got through it and that's what counts, and I'm ready for my next match."
Groenefeld, who hit 15 double faults and has lost her last five first-round matches, broke to lead 5-4 in the opening set but then served three double faults as Safarova leveled at 5-5. Games went with serve in the second set as Groenefeld held off a break point at 0-1, before the Czech again claimed the tiebreaker.