Melbourne - Fourth seed Petra Kvitova ground out a straight sets win over Dutch
qualifier Richel Hogenkamp on Tuesday to reach the Australian Open
second round, admitting nerves affected her performance.
Wimbledon champion looked to be cruising to a easy victory but made
hard work of the second set to eventually down Hogenkamp 6-1, 6-4.
was sensationally dumped out of last year's event in the opening round
and said bad memories returned to haunt her as world number 138
Hogenkamp fought her way back into the match.
"I didn't have nice memories from last year when I lost my first round, so I'm happy I won today," the 24-year-old said.
"I'd never played my opponent and I'm just pleased to win."
said the pressure was on to perform after winning her second Wimbledon
title last year but there were no easy victories in a Grand Slam.
why I have nerves, because I won Wimbledon," she said. "It's never easy
to be the favourite on the court with everyone expecting that you're
going to win easily."
She enjoyed a strong lead-up to the
Melbourne tournament, winning the Sydney International, and expected the
nerves to ease in the second round, when she will play either Donna
Vedic of Croatia or Germany's Mona Barthel.
"(Sydney) was geat
fun," she said, "I'm very pleased with how I played, it's helpful to
have a few wins under your belt before the Grand Slam begins."
has a patchy history in Melbourne, making the quarter-finals in 2011
and the semis a year later but failing to advance beyond the second
round in her four other appearances at the season-opening Grand Slam.
2014 champion Li Na of China, who will not defend her Australian Open
crown after retiring in September, has declared the Czech is the player
to beat at this year's tournament.
She lived up to the billing in
the early stages of her clash against Hogenkamp and will need to produce
similar form to advance deep into this year's event.