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Storming start for sandgroper Sanders
WA's Storm Sanders in action at the Australian Open. Picture: Getty Images.

West Australian Storm Sanders' Australian Open debut has ended in heartache after losing a three set clash to Italian Camila Giorgi 4-6 6-1 6-4.

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Sanders, 19, is ranked 219 compared to Giorgi's number 99 but looked the better player early in the match, setting up numerous break points and making fewer errors.

She won the first set 6-4 after finally making the most of her break point opportunities but found the going much tougher in the second set.

Broken twice, the set looked over but Sanders continued to fight, saved three set points and had three break points but Giorgi eventually seized the advantage.

That final game got Sanders back in the contest though and the third set was a dogfight as the temperature hit 40 degrees.

Giorgi handed Sanders the crucial break when she served her 12th double fault in the sixth game. But Sanders immediately lost her serve to lose that advantage.

Sanders looked in terrible trouble when she faced three break points at 4-4 but she saved them all.

Giorgi didn't waste the fourth break point though, crunching a cross court backhand winner to lead 5-4.

She then served out the match to win in one hour and 54 minutes.

Giorgi's power was the feature of her game because she served five aces to two and struck 27 winners to 13.

She faces a tough challenge in the next round against French 25th seed Alize Cornet.

Cornet has avoided the heat of the opening two days because her match this morning lasted just 10 minutes before Slovenia's Polona Hercog retired.