World No. 5 Petra Kvitova suffered her second early exit in just over a week yesterday as she crashed out of the second round of the China Open at the hands of Carla Suarez Navarro.
Last year’s Wimbledon champion lost 6-3, 6-2 to the Spanish player ranked 46th in the world after also being humiliated in straight sets by Croatia’s Petra Martic at the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo.
The fourth seed from the Czech Republic had received a first-round bye in Japan, before losing to Martic, then 73rd in the standings, and her poor form in Asia continued in Beijing, largely due to erratic serving.
Kvitova, who has yet to confirm her spot at the season-ending WTA Championships in Istanbul, Turkey, featuring the year’s top eight players, hit five double faults in the match, while her opponent did not make any.
Also yesterday, world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka progressed to the second round with ease, thrashing Alize Cornet of France 6-1, 6-0, while second-ranked Maria Sharapova came through 7-5, 7-5 against Romania’s Simona Halep.
“I put myself in a good position in both of those sets, being up a break, and I let her back in the match a couple of times,” Sharapova said.
“That’s certainly not the best thing, I’m not exactly proud of it, but the good thing was I was able to regain my focus and win that match. I’m happy to be through,” she said.
Former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki, who won her first title in more than a year in Seoul last month, maintained her recent good form with a 7-5, 6-7 (6/8), 6-2 victory over Chanelle Scheepers of South Africa.
In the men’s singles, last year’s losing finalist Marin Cilic suffered a shock first-round defeat to wild-card Marius Copil, ranked more than 200 places below him in the world.
The fourth-seeded Croat took the first set 6-3 and looked to be coasting, but the Romanian world No. 221 fought back with a number of big serves to take the second on a tiebreak, 7-6 (7/0), and the third 6-4.
“I wasn’t serving consistently well. When I had the break up in all three sets I would lose my serve,” Cilic said.
The world No. 15 lost to Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic in last year’s final and was hoping to go one better this year.
“I’m very disappointed as I always feel here may be the best of the year and the conditions would suit my game almost perfectly,” Cilic added.