Melbourne - Double Wimbledon winner Petra
Kvitova has spent almost as much time on the toilet as the practice courts
recently but showed no sign of illness in getting her Australian Open underway
The Czech sixth seed has had the worst
possible lead-up to the year's opening Grand Slam, with a gastro problem
forcing her out of the Shenzhen Open and Sydney International, where she was
But the aggressive baseliner put the ordeal
behind her in the first round, sweeping past Thai qualifier Kumkhum 6-3, 6-1 in
70 minutes in blazing heat on Rod Laver Arena.
It was payback for the Czech, who fell at
the opening hurdle to Kumkhum in 2014.
"I had a great off-season with fitness
and tennis preparation and when I got to China I got some stomach virus or
something and I was just laying around and going quite often to the toilet for
eight to nine days," Kvitova said.
"So I didn't eat very well and I lost
some weight and that's why I withdrew from Sydney as well.
"But I'm feeling much better
Kvitova, who is playing in her eighth
Australian Open, with a semi-final appearance in 2012 her best showing so far,
broke the Thai star to go 5-3 clear in the opening set then served out in 36
She maintained the momentum in the second
set, racing 3-0 clear before her opponent pulled a break back. But it was too
little too late, with the world number six clinching the match on a Kumkhum
"I'm very pleased with how I played
today, how I handled the nerves and everything," Kvitova said.
"First rounds are always very tough
and for me it was my first match of the season so I'm really glad how I
Kvitova is coming off a solid 2015 where
she won titles in Sydney, Madrid and New Haven, while making the decider of the
season-ending WTA Finals which Pole Agnieszka Radwanska won.
She next faces local hope Daria Gavrilova
who beat another Czech, Lucie Hradecka.