SYDNEY, Australia -- A straight-set triumph yesterday over Isabel Cueto of Germany was more than a first-round victory for Pam Shriver; it was the first positive step in her comeback.
Seven months to the day after the 28-year-old Lutherville, Md., resident underwent shoulder surgery, she was a winner again after beating the 14th-seeded Cueto, 7-6 (10-8), 6-4, in the opening round of the New South Wales Open.
"I usually don't get too excited about first-round wins, but this was probably the most important of my career, a little more special," Shriver said.
With 21 career singles titles, 83 doubles titles -- 21 of them in Grand Slam events -- and $4 million in earnings, the former U.S. Open singles finalist can afford to be selective about her career highlight film.
Shriver, ranked 66th in singles, lost her first-round match in Brisbane last week to eventual finalist Akiko Kijimuta of Japan. And she looked awkward and rusty in the defeat.
Yesterday, she won despite making 14 double-faults.
"She plays a lot of awkward shots," Shriver said. "But I hung in there, and I'm pleased with my effort."
Shriver also reflected on the decision to have surgery on her shoulder and then attempt a comeback.
"I didn't really know where I was going," Shriver said. "But since I've made the decision to have the surgery, I've had a very positive attitude. I'm saying there's some really good tennis in me. I have a good attitude and can still be a force in the game."
In men's first-round matches, third-seeded Guy Forget of France beat Scott Davis of Davie, Fla., 6-3, 6-3, and Sweden's Johan Anderson upset fifth-seeded Jay Berger of Weston, Fla., 6-3, 6-4.