Pervak packs off Wozniacki
Caroline Wozniacki's preparations for the Australian Open were in tatters on Monday after she was bundled out of the Brisbane International by Kazakhstan's World No 103 Ksenia Pervak.
Wozniacki's defeat completed a disastrous 12 months in which the Dane relinquished the No 1 ranking and failed to threaten at any of the major championships.
The World No 10 started strongly but wilted as Pervak, a 21-year-old qualifier on the comeback trail from a serious pelvic injury, committed 61 unforced errors but still
completed a 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-1) victory for her first win against a top 10 player.
“Had a lot of long rallies and a lot of even games, and it just didn't go my way,” she said.
Wozniacki said knee troubles had hampered her during the year. Sporting a ring on her wedding finger, she downplayed speculation she was engaged to the golfer Rory McIlroy, who was among the spectators on Monday.
“It was a Christmas present and it fit on this finger,” she said. “I put it on, and all of a sudden I hear that I'm engaged. I'm not.
It's already twice we've had to shut down engagement rumours. Don't worry, we will let you know if that time happens. We're just taking one day at a time.”
Pervak said she was reaping the benefits of strenuous off-season work following her recovery from injury.
“I had a stress fracture of my pelvis bone,” she said. “It was pretty hard because you cannot really put anything to hold it because you still need to walk.
Defending champion Zheng Jie and former world number two Svetlana Kuznetsova were knocked out of the Auckland Classic in the first round on Monday.
Zheng raced to a 3-0 lead before losing 13 of the next 16 games to go down 7-5, 6-1 to American Jamie Hampton.
Kuznetsova, returning from a knee injury, lost 6-7 (5-7), 6-2, 7-5 to unseeded Dutch player Kiki Bertens.