Kerber, Cibulkova in shock exits
BRISBANE: World No 1 Angelique Kerber was knocked out of the Brisbane International by Elina Svitolina yesterday while second seed Dominika Cibulkova also succumbed to a quarter-final upset.
Ukrainian sixth seed Svitolina prevailed 6-4 3-6 6-3 in her slugfest with Kerber to set up a semi-final clash with Karolina Pliskova who beat Roberta Vinci 3-6 6-2 6-2.
With Kerber struggling with her serve and rhythm, Svitolina claimed the first set but the German staged a brilliant comeback in the second to force the decider.
Kerber seemed to have found her range in the third set but Svitolina broke and then served for her second successive win over the top seed.
Earlier, an inspired Alize Cornet pulled off a 6-3 7-5 upset win over Cibulkova to book a last-four battle with Garbine Muguruza who survived yet another gruelling contest at the Pat Rafter Arena.
Cornet won the first set without much difficulty and led 5-2 in the second when Cibulkova staged a mini comeback, breaking the unseeded Frenchwoman twice to level at 5-5.
Cornet broke Cibulkova again for 6-5 and served it out on her third attempt.
Muguruza had survived tough three-setters against Sam Stosur and Daria Kasatkina in her previous two matches and the Spaniard dug deep to beat Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova 7-5 6-4.
Roger Federer was more than pleased with his fighting performance after losing a rubber to German teenager Alexander Zverev 7-6 (7-1) 6-7 (9-7) 7-6 (7-4) at the Hopman Cup.
Even though he went down in his men’s singles contest on Wednesday night, the 35-year-old and teenaged partner Belinda Bencic did manage a 2-1 win over the Germans and will play for a spot in the final at the mixed team event in a winner-take-all tie against France today.
Federer did only a light training yesterday, aiming to spend just 45 minutes on court the day before he and Belinda Bencic take on Richard Gasquet and Kristina Mladenovic. – Reuters/DPA