MELBOURNE - Samantha Stosur is hoping that she has released the shackles after breaking her summer duck to reach the second round of the Australian Open.
Stosur survived a scare to put away the free-swinging Kai-Chen Chang 7-6 (7-3), 6-3 yesterday and confirm her status as one of the best frontrunners in the business.
Australia's ninth seed admitted that the tie-breaker was key.
"Obviously it's been a pretty tough summer so far," Stosur said.
"I desperately wanted to win out there today.
"Obviously I feel very happy, a little bit relieved. It's just nice to get through that first round finally.
"From here, hopefully I can loosen up a little bit and keep playing better and better."
Stosur had not won a round at Melbourne Park since lifting the US Open trophy in New York in 2011, and the 28-year-old knew all too well that the heat was on to deliver in front of expectant home fans.
The Queenslander tried to block out the external pressures, refusing to read newspapers or watch TV in the countdown to the Open - but the talk was impossible to ignore.
From Lleyton Hewitt to Margaret Court, Martina Navratilova to Martina Hingis, everyone had offered their advice.
"People get asked what their opinion is and they say it and it comes out there," Stosur said.
"I mean, it's fine. Everyone is entitled to think what they think.
"But of course I have got a group of people around me I trust all year round, not just during the summer of the Australian Open.
"Maybe some people had valid points but, at the end of the day, I'm always going to go back to who I know and who I trust the most."
Stosur knows very well the next round will be tough because her second-round opponent, China's 2010 Open semi-finalist Jie Zheng, beat her only last week in Sydney.