Melbourne: Furious former World No 1 Caroline Wozniacki crashed out of the Australian Open at the first hurdle yesterday and admitted she had no one but herself to blame.
Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki reacts after losing a point to Kazakhstan's Yulia Putintseva during their first round match at the Australian Open in Melbourne yesterday
The Dane, who remains one of the most marketable players in tennis despite never winning a major in 35 attempts, tossed away a one-set lead against 76th-ranked Kazakh Yulia Putintseva.
"I would say it's a pretty sh***y start to the season," Wozniacki told a press conference.
"It wasn't a pretty first set, but I got it done and really should have closed it off in two. I let her back into the match, and it was basically my own fault that I'm not here as the winner."
She romped through the first set against Putintseva, but as the Kazakh's confidence grew, Wozniacki struggled to cope with her baseline game and went down 1-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-4 in three hours and 12 minutes.
Kazakhstan's Yulia Putintseva celebrates after beating Wozniacki 1-7, 7-6, 6-4 yesterday. Pics/AFP
"I can't believe I won the match," said 21-year-old Putintseva, who was shaking with nerves in her courtside interview and revealed she battled through blisters on her feet and toes.
"I was very nervous in the first set because I am not used to playing on such a big court. But then I got a bit more used to it."
Putintseva's reward is a second round-clash with Chinese wildcard Han Xinyun, and a potential fourth-round encounter with World No 1 Serena Williams. It was a disappointing start to the year for 18th-ranked Wozniacki, who has struggled to regain the form that saw her end 2010 and 2011 as World No 1.
She won in Malaysia last year, but other highlights were few and far between. Capping off her misery, she cut her finger badly with a bread knife and withdrew from the WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai, southern China, in November. She said there was nothing she could do but return to the practice courts to improve.