In a classic battle of youth versus experience, 16-year-old Victoria Azarenka defeated 33-year-old Amy Frazier 6-2 5-7 6-4 in first round action on Monday.
Frazier was the top seed in Auckland last year and tried to use all of her considerable guile to topple the world's No1 junior. But Azarenka broke the former world No13 at 4-4 in the third set and then held her nerve to advance to the second round.
The 2005 Australian and US Open junior champion was grateful for receiving a wildcard from tournament director Richard Palmer. "It's very good that I didn't have to play qualifying so I wouldn't be tired," said Azarenka.
Azarenka was quick out of the blocks but knew that maintaining a high level of play throughout the whole match was the key to beating a player of Frazier's quality.
"I started very good and I think Amy didn't play that good at the beginning as she [couldn't find] her rhythm," she said.
"You have to be at 100% all the time to beat her because you never know what's going to come ... she can change her game by playing hard and deep. It's very tough."
The 1.80 teenager from Belarus showed off her impressive array of tools to the curious crowd out on court 4. She hits hard and deep from both wings and has the advantage of being able to win cheap points off her powerful serve.