An­other early exit for world No1

The Mercury - - SPORT - Sydney

AN­GELIQUE Ker­ber’s build-up to next week’s Aus­tralian Open suf­fered a set­back when the world No1 was beaten 7-6(5,) 6-2 by Rus­sian teenager Daria Kasatk­ina in the sec­ond round of the Sydney In­ter­na­tional yes­ter­day.

An er­ror-prone Ker­ber strug­gled to re­pro­duce the form that led her to a first Grand Slam tri­umph at Melbourne Park last year and came un­stuck against the 19-year-old Kasatk­ina.

“The first matches of the year are al­ways tough and I still don’t feel my rhythm. I made too many mis­takes,” Ker­ber, who lost in the quar­ter-fi­nals in Bris­bane last week, said of her 41 un­forced er­rors.

“So it was not so easy, but I will try to for­get the match as soon as I can. It’s the sec­ond tour­na­ment of the year. We still have a (long way) to go, so I will not (make) a big (deal) of that match.”

Kasatk­ina kept her nerve when it mat­tered and fought off three break-points in the sixth game of the sec­ond set while lead­ing 3-2 with a break.

From there she did not have to look back.

“It’s dif­fi­cult to ex­plain, re­ally. I beat the num­ber one in the world and it doesn’t hap­pen ev­ery day,” said Kasatk­ina, ranked 26th in the world.

“I think I will get some con­fi­dence,” she said re­fer­ring to the year’s first Grand Slam start­ing on Mon­day in Melbourne.

Anas­ta­sia Pav­lyuchenkova ear­lier won an all-Rus­sian bat­tle against Svet­lana Kuznetsova.

Pav­lyuchenkova beat world No9 and de­fend­ing cham­pion Kuznetsova 7-5, 6-3 to set up a quar­ter-fi­nal clash with Cana­dian Eu­ge­nie Bouchard, who caused an­other up­set by beat­ing third seed Do­minika Cibulkova.

Ninth seeded Ital­ian Robert Vinci fell to Czech Barbora Strycova 6-2, 6-3 but for­mer world No1 Caro­line Woz­ni­acki bucked the trend with a 6-0, 7-5 win over Kazakh Yu­lia Putint­seva. Pol­ish sec­ond seed Ag­nieszka Rad­wan­ska over­came Amer­i­can Christina Mchale 7-6(1), 6-1.

Kuznetsova crum­bles

Pav­lyuchenkova went into the match hav­ing lost five of the last six meet­ings against Kuznetsova and twice fell back in the open­ing set.

The 31-year-old dou­ble Grand Slam win­ner was serv­ing for the set at 5-4 be­fore Pav­lyuchenkova reeled off three games to bag the set.

“I’m re­ally happy, es­pe­cially be­cause she’s not only de­fend­ing cham­pion but my fel­low (coun­try­woman) and she’s top 10 and she’s had a re­ally in­cred­i­ble year last year,” Pav­lyuchenkova said.

Next up for the Rus­sian will be for­mer Wim­ble­don fi­nal­ist Bouchard, who com­pleted her fourth con­sec­u­tive hard-court win against world No6 Cibulkova with a 6-4, 6-3 vic­tory.

It will be the first WTA quar­ter-fi­nal ap­pear­ance for the Cana­dian in 10 months since Kuala Lumpur, where she lost in the fi­nal of the Malaysian Open. – Reuters

PIC­TURE: EPA

Daria Kasatk­ina of Rus­sia can barely be­lieve it af­ter she de­feated world No1 An­gelique Ker­ber of Ger­many dur­ing their sec­ond round match at the Sydney In­ter­na­tional yes­ter­day.

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