Alexa

Hingis returns to Gold Coast, opens with a win

Hingis returns to Gold Coast, opens with a win

Martina Hingis beat Austria's Sybille Bammer 6-0, 6-2 at the Australian Women's Hardcourt Championship Sunday to cap off a successful comeback year.
The former top-ranked Hingis returned here last season after three years on the sidelines and reached the semifinals. Weeks later, she made the quarterfinals at the Australian Open, an event she won three consecutive years from 1997.
The Swiss star, who finished the 2006 season at No. 7 in the world rankings, now gets New Year's day off before a second-round meeting with either Elena Bovina or Nicole Pratt.
"I'll have a day off tomorrow and I can probably toast the win at midnight," Hingis said.
The personal differences between the start of the 2007 season and the start of 2006 were vast, said the former top-ranked Hingis.
"Now I'm No. 7 in the world, I've won a couple of tournaments and played some great matches against top players so I know I can handle myself out there," she said. "Last year I didn't know and I found out after a few rounds but it definitely took me a while to get used to the nerves."
In other matches, Australian wild-card entry Sophie Ferguson ousted eighth-seeded Ai Sugiyama of Japan 7-6 (4), 6-4 and Elena Vesnina of Russia beat Italy's Maria Elena Camerin 6-3, 6-2.
Sugiyama made 11 double-faults against only one for Ferguson and dropped serve four times in an erratic second set.
Colombia's Catalina Castano beat local wild-card entry Shannon Golds 6-3, 6-4, Severine Bremond of France beat Czech player Iveta Benesova 0-6, 6-4, 6-2 and Venezuela's Milagros Sequera had a 6-4, 6-2 win over Ekaterina Ivanova of Russia.