Svetlana Kuznetsova joined a growing list of seeded players making an early exit from the WTA Auckland Classic yesterday, while tour battlers continued to shine.
Fourth seed Kuznetsova was beaten in straight sets by Austrian qualifier Tamira Paszek, while seventh seed Barbora Strycova went down to German Julia Goerges. Going into the quarter-finals today, third-seed Caroline Wozniacki and fifth-seed Sloane Stephens are the only seeded players remaining and both are in the same half of the draw.
The exit of the big names began in the first round when Venus Williams and Ana Ivanovic were both beaten.
However, Naomi Broady followed up from her upset victory over Ivanovic to come from one set down to beat Latvian Jelena Ostapenko 4-6, 7-6 (7/4), 7-5 in a spiteful match. During the second-set tiebreak, Broady appealed for Ostapenko to be disqualified after the Latvian threw her racket down and it appeared to hit a ball boy.
However, the umpire allowed play to continue.
“It was quite clear that she threw her racket and it hit a ball kid, which should be straight disqualified,” Broady said. “The chair umpire said Jelena said to him that it slipped from her hand, so he said it was just a code violation or something.”
Paszek, ranked 172, and fellow qualifier Kirsten Flipkins, who turns 30 on Sunday and is ranked 85, have emerged as two of the strongest underdogs, but are set to clash in the quarter-finals.
Flipkins made the final eight with a 6-1, 4-6, 6-2 win over American Irina Falconi.
Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei crashed out of the second round of the Shenzhen Open yesterday as the Taiwanese world No. 93 succumbed to a comeback by Alison Riske, as the American rallied from a set down to complete a 3-6, 7-5, 6-1 victory, while Polish top seed Agnieszka Radwanska breezed through in straight sets, leaving her one of only two seeds left in the tournament.
The world No. 5 and winner of the WTA Finals in Singapore in November last year sent her home opponent Zhang Shuai packing 6-1, 7-5 in 1 hour, 10 minutes.
Romanian third seed Irina-Camelia Begu went out, retiring halfway through the second set against Germany’s Anna-Lena Friedsam, having lost the first 7-5. Begu’s compatriot, fourth seed Monica Niculescu, was also eliminated, with Hungary’s Tmmea Babos, ranked 70 in the world, beating her 6-1, 6-4.
Aside from Radwanska, the only other seed to reach today’s quarter-finals was Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard, the No. 6 seed beating Nicole Gibbs of the US 6-4, 6-2.
Additional reporting by staff writer
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