BRISBANE — Australian wildcard Sally Peers stunned seventh seeded Russian Alisa Kleybanova with a 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 win in the opening match of the Brisbane International tennis tournament on Sunday.
The 24-year-old Peers, ranked 154th in the world heading into the tournament, beat Kleybanova over an exhausting two hours, 18 minutes in stifling conditions at the Pat Rafter Arena.
Kleybanova, 21, took the first set comfortably and looked on track to claim the second when she led led 3-2 and was up 40-0 to take a 4-2 lead.
But Peers fought back to break Kleybanova's serve, took the second set 6-4 and then opened a 5-1 lead in the decider.
Kleybanova came back to make it 5-3 but Peers was not to be denied, holding on to ease her way into the second round.
"That game that I came back from love-40 gave me a lot of confidence to know that I could stick with her and really fight it out," Peers said.
"I tried to stay out there as long as possible -- maybe she's not used to the warm conditions and I love playing up here, so I think I used that to my advantage."
Serbia's Bojana Jovanovski brought the Brisbane crowd back down to earth when she beat the higher ranked Russian-born but naturalised Australian Anastasia Rodionova 2-6, 6-2, 6-3.
The Serbian number three is ranked 80th to Rodionova's 64th but she finished too strongly for the Australian, wrapping up the match in two hours, nine minutes.
Fifth seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova fought off a spirited challenge from fellow Russian Alla Kudryavtseva before winning 6-2, 6-7 (5/7), 6-3, while Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic recorded a 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 win over Uzbekistan's Akgul Amanmuradova.
In the last match of the day, Australian Jarmila Groth delighted the home crowd when she beat Spain's Arantxa Parra Santonja in straight sets 6-2, 7-5.
There was only one men's first round match on Sunday, sixth seeded Spaniard Feliciano Lopez downing German Philipp Petzschner 6-4, 7-6 (13/11).