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Stakusic bounces Melnikova in San Diego women's singles opener

SAN DIEGO — Marina Stakusic didn't let rain or a scheduling delay change her focus Monday night as she bounced Marina Melnikova of Russia 6-4, 5-7, 6-1 in the opening round of women's singles at the San Diego Open.

The Mississauga, Ont., qualifier pounced on her opponent — also a qualifier — quickly in the opening set and only needed 49 minutes to wrap up the win. Both players appeared to be battling nerves and made several miscues before settling in.

Melnikova gained some momentum and confidence in the second set, cut back on her unforced errors and earned a tense 7-5 victory in 55 minutes.

But Stakusic shook off the setback and dominated the third and decisive set, winning 6-1. The match took two hours, nine minutes to complete.

Stakusic finished with four aces, seven double faults, 10 of 16 break points saved, eight service games won and eight return games won. Melnikova had no ace, six double faults, 2 of 10 break points saved, six service games won and six return games won.

Stakusic will play the winner of Tuesday's match between seventh-seeded Donna Vekic of Croatia and 19-year-old wild card Katherine Hui of San Diego.

Eighth-seeded Leylah Fernandez of Laval, Que., is scheduled to play Tatjana Maria of Germany on Tuesday in first-round action.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 26, 2024.

The Canadian Press