Auckland: Second seed Sara Errani crashed out of the opening round of the Auckland Classic WTA tournament yesterday, beaten in straight sets by Slovakian Daniela Hantuchova.
It took Hantuchova just 75 minutes to take the match 6-3, 6-2 as the Italian World No 14 Errani continued to be hampered by the rib injury that affected her at the end of last season.
The 31-year-old Hantuchova produced her power game firing down an ace with her first serve and followed with soft touches to break Errani for the first time in the fourth game.
Errani rallied at the start of the second set to break Hantuchova to take a 2-0 lead before losing the next six games as she failed to find an answer to the Slovakian's broad shot selection.
Eighth seed Mona Barthel also fell by the wayside, with the German easily overrun 6-2, 6-1 by wildcard Ana Konjuh of Croatia.
Brisbane: Czech player Karolina Pliskova spoiled Victoria Azarenka's comeback bid after an injury-marred 2014, winning a gruelling first-round match at the Brisbane International yesterday.
Pliskova displayed incredible fighting spirit to hold off the former World No 1 one and win the match 4-6, 7-6 (9/7), 6-4.