Doha: Angelique Kerber was one of at least seven seeds, who crashed out of the Qatar Open on Tuesday, in the German’s first singles tournament since winning her first Grand Slam title in Melbourne last month.
Beaten: Reigning Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber of Germany had received a first-round bye in the tournament. Pic/AFP
The Australian Open champion lost her second round match — she received a first round bye — in straight sets 7-5, 6-1 to China’s Zheng Saisai, who is ranked 70 places below the World No 2.
And on a disastrous day in Doha for the top players, Kerber was joined by the No 2 seed Simona Halep, who lost in three sets to Elena Vesnina. Also out was defending champion and No 7 seed Lucie Safarova. She was defeated in straight sets by Turkey’s Cagla Buyukakcay. Adding to the carnage, No 6 seed Belinda Bencic, No 12 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova, No 14 seed Jelena Jankovic and the No 16 seed Sara Errani also perished.
But on an extraordinary day, it was Kerber’s defeat that proved most shocking. In a lacklustre and timid performance, the German lost her serve six times, hit 38 unforced errors — Saisai hit only eight — and was beaten in just one hour and eighteen minutes. The second set took just 28 minutes as Kerber’s game collapsed. Kerber, who has not played any singles tournaments since beating Serena Williams in Melbourne on January 30, grew increasingly exasperated with her form on a blustery night in Doha and at one point could be heard telling coach Torben Beltz that she was tired and had no energy.