World No 8 Petra Kvitova’s preparations for the Australian Open suffered another setback when she was thrashed by Dominika Cibulkova in the first round of the Sydney International.
The Czech, who had lost to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the second round of the Brisbane International last week, was thumped 6-1, 6-1 by her Slovak opponent at the Sydney Olympic Park Tennis Centre.
“I played really badly and I wish I knew what to say but I don’t know,” Kvitova, the 2011 Wimbledon champion and a semi-finalist at last year’s Australian Open, told reporters.
“I’m not feeling very well right now in my confidence, but I’m always looking forward to playing grand slams and I hope everything will be better there than here.”
Former world number one Caroline Wozniacki got her preparations for the first grand slam of the season, which starts on 14 January in Melbourne, back on track with a confident 6-1, 6-2 win over Poland’s Urszula Radwanska.
After suffering a shock first-round loss to qualifier Ksenia Pervak in Brisbane, the Dane rediscovered her touch to record a first victory of 2013.
Wozniacki has spent 67 weeks at the top of the rankings in her career, but the 22-year-old slipped to number 10 after a poor season in which she suffered first-round exits at both Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.
With boyfriend and world number one golfer Rory McIlroy cheering her on from the stands, the Dane said she believed she could climb her way back to the top of the rankings.
“Within myself, I believe I can get back there,” Wozniacki said, “but it’s a lot of hard work and there are a lot of great players, so you never know what’s going to happen.
“The most important thing is that you’re healthy and I’m going to play as best I can and win as many tournaments as I can and the ranking will come if you play well.”
Meanwhile, Australian Olivia Rogowska was overwhelmed in a 7-5, 6-2 loss to Russian Maria Kirilenko in another first round match, while home favourite Samantha Stosur will begin her campaign today against China’s world No 26 Zheng Jie.