Earlier, former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki lost valuable Australian Open match practice when she lost to Kazakhstan qualifier Ksenia Pervak.
In a titanic battle lasting 2 hours, 48 minutes, left-handed Pervak eased past Wozniacki 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/1) in the first shock of the season-opening WTA tournament.
Eighth-seeded Wozniacki had looked in control as she reeled off the first set in just 29 minutes.
However, the Russian-born Pervak found her range in the second set and had the Dane constantly under pressure with her swinging left-handed groundstrokes.
She won the set to level the match, then stunned Wozniacki in the deciding set with an all-out attack.
“I had a really tough match yesterday, we played for three hours and I was tired in the beginning, but then I got into the game [and] it was easy,” Pervak said. “I won a few games and I felt that I can do it and I started to fight more.”
Pervak said she knew she could not give the more experienced Wozniacki any cheap points in the tiebreak.
“I just told myself that I needed to be focused on every point and just play my game as aggressively as I could,” she said.
Wozniacki will play in Sydney next week in a last-ditch bid to find some form ahead of the Jan. 14-27 Australian Open in Melbourne.
It was 21-year-old Pervak’s first win over a top 10 player and the first time she has been past the first round in Brisbane in four attempts.
Fourth seed Angelique Kerber survived a tough three-setter against Georgia’s Anna Tatishvili, winning 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, while German compatriot Sabine Lisicki had a more straightforward 6-2, 6-4 win over Czech Lucie Safarova.
French Open runner-up and fifth seed Sara Errani thumped Russia’s Olga Puchkova 6-1, 6-3.
In the men’s draw, Japan’s fifth seed Kei Nishikori downed Australian No. 1 Marinko Matosevic 7-5, 6-2, sixth seed Florian Mayer beat Santiago Giraldo of Colombia 6-4, 6-4 and Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen outlasted Frenchman Julien Benneteau 6-3, 2-6, 6-1.
AFP, AUCKLAND, New Zealand
Defending champion Zheng Jie crashed out in the first round of the ASB Classic women’s tennis tournament yesterday, falling to rising US star Jamie Hampton 7-5, 6-1.
Two-time Grand Slam winner Svetlana Kuznetsova was also sent packing on the opening day, beaten in a three-set marathon by Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands.
Zheng, seeded fourth in the tournament that serves as a warm-up to next month’s Australian Open, raced to an early 3-0 lead in the opening set, before Hampton fought back to level at 5-5.
The German-born American, who has soared up the rankings from No. 137 to No. 70 over the past year, then broke Zheng in a love game before taking out the set with an ace in the following game.
The second set was all Hampton, as she used her strong cross-court forehand to dominate the more experienced Chinese in 1 hour, 20 minutes.
In blustery conditions, the 21-year-old Bertens fought back from a set down to beat former world No. 2 Kuznetsova 6-7 (5/7), 6-2, 7-5.
Bertens, who rose in the rankings from No. 184 to No. 63 over the past year, grew in confidence despite serving 10 double faults in the strong wind.
After losing the opening set tie-break in the 2 hour, 33 minute marathon, she held her concentration against the 28-year-old Russian veteran, who is making a comeback after a first-round knee injury at Wimbledon ended her season.