Another early exit for world No1
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.
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
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.