World number seven Angelique Kerber survived a huge scare Tuesday from Japan’s Misaki Doi, pulling herself back from the brink of defeat to make the Australian Open second round.
The German, who was forced out of the Sydney International with a gastrointestinal illness last week, saved a match point in a second-set tiebreaker before digging deep to win 6-7 (4/7), 7-6 (8/6), 6-3.
Kerber, who turned 28 on Monday, struggled to match Doi’s telling forehand with the Japanese world number 64, who won her first career title at Luxembourg last year, drilling winner after winner.
It looked to be all over for Kerber in the second set but she somehow survived and then proved to be the fittest of the two in the third, outlasting her opponent in 2hr 41 mins, screaming in joy as she hit a forehand winner to stay in the tournament.
The pair had met three times before with the German winning them all. Her reward for making it four out of four is a second round tie with Romanian Alexandra Dulgheru.