Maria started 2011 with a win as she defeated Alberta Brianti of Italy 6-2 6-3 in the first round at the ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand.
Maria was originally due to play Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain today but due to the draw being re-arranged Maria played Brianti instead. Maria won the match on her fifth match point in an hour and 30 minutes.
After the win, Maria said: “We spend so much time training and out of tournament competition, it’s great to be in the atmosphere of a crowd.”
“The change of opponent was different, because I warmed up pretty early. I headed back and took another rest and came back. That was the only hiccup today.”
“In the Grand Slams, you’re playing after the guys, two sets to love and you’re warming up, and you find yourself going on the court three hours later.”
“We adjust, it’s part of the sport. That’s the way the scheduling goes and we just have to be happy.”
Maria will play Renata Voracova of the Czech Republic in the second round.