Kerber crashes out in Qatar as seeds scat­tered

The Pak Banker - - MARKETS/SPORTS -

An­gelique Kerber was one of at least seven seeds who crashed out of the Qatar Open on late Tues­day, in the Ger­man's first sin­gles tour­na­ment since win­ning her first Grand Slam ti­tle in Mel­bourne last month.

The Aus­tralian Open cham­pion lost her se­cond round match - she re­ceived a first-round bye - in straight sets 7-5, 6-1 to China's Zheng Sai­sai, who is ranked 70 places below the world No. 2. And on a dis­as­trous day in Doha for the top play­ers, Kerber was joined by the No. 2 seed Si­mona Halep, who lost in three sets to Elena Ves­nina.

Also out was de­fend­ing cham­pion and No. 7 seed Lu­cie Sa­farova. She was de­feated in straight sets by Turkey's Cagla Buyukak­cay.

Adding to the car­nage, the No. 6 seed Belinda Ben­cic, No. 12 seed Svet­lana Kuznetsova, No. 14 seed Je­lena Jankovic and the No. 16 seed Sara Er­rani also per­ished. But on an ex­tra­or­di­nary day, it was Kerber's de­feat, which proved the most shock­ing.

In a lack­lus­tre and timid per­for­mance, the Ger­man lost her serve six times, hit 38 un­forced er­rors - Sai­sai hit only eight - and was beaten in just one hour and eigh­teen min­utes as her op­po­nent dom­i­nated. The se­cond set took just 28 min­utes as Kerber's game col­lapsed.

The out-of-sorts Kerber, who has not played any sin­gles tour­na­ments since beat­ing Serena Wil­liams in Mel­bourne on Jan­uary 30, grew in­creas­ingly ex­as­per­ated with her form on a blus­tery night in Doha and at one point could be heard telling her coach Tor­ben Beltz that she was tired and had no en­ergy.

Af­ter­wards, the Poland-based Ger­man said she did not know if her poor per­for­mance was down to a lack of match fit­ness or not be­ing able to re­spond to the new pres­sure of be­ing a Grand Slam cham­pion. "I don't know if it was the pres­sure or not. I know, of course, pres­sures from the last years, but maybe it was both," she told re­porters. "I mean, I was feel­ing this morn­ing also not good when I was prac­tic­ing. This is ac­tu­ally what I can say, I don't know how many mis­takes I did to­day.

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