Second seed Ons Jabeur crashed out in the second round of the Australian Open after an error-strewn display in a 6-1 5-7 6-1 loss to former French Open finalist Marketa Vondrousova.
Jabeur, who stormed up the rankings last year after runs to the finals at Wimbledon and the US Open, had complained of a knee problem after her opening victory at Melbourne Park and seemed out of sorts for much of the loss against Vondrousova.
The Tunisian sprayed 50 unforced errors and had her serve broken eight times in the contest.
Jabeur exits Australian Open
The second seed has failed to reach the round of 32 in the women’s singles main draw at the Australian Open for the second time in the Open Era (Simona Halep in 2016 who lost in R1 to Shuai Zhang).
There were only flashes of the brilliant racket skills that have made her such a favourite on the WTA Tour as Vondrousova matched everything Jabeur threw at her on a chilly evening on Rod Laver Arena.
Jabeur broke her opponent when she was serving for the match for the first time but Vondrousova broke straight back and moved on to a third-round meeting with 17-year-old fellow Czech Linda Fruhvirtova.
Britain’s Emma Raducanu tweeted she is “back to it” following her Melbourne exit to Coco Gauff on Wednesday.
Fourth seed Caroline Garcia stormed through after an impressive 7-6 (7-5) 7-5 win over 2021 US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez in just under two hours on Rod Laver Arena.
Garcia fought back from 2-5 in the first set tie-break and saved a set point in the second with an ace before advancing.
Fifth seed Aryna Sabalenka swatted aside Shelby Rogers 6-3 6-1 as the big-hitting Belarusian, who warmed up for the year’s first major with the Adelaide title, found her rhythm after an error-prone start to the match.
“She always plays fast and puts me under pressure. I expected a great level from her and that’s why I had to stay focused to win this in two sets,” said Sabalenka, who next meets her former doubles partner Elise Mertens after the Belgian 26th seed comfortably saw off Hobart winner Lauren Davis 6-4 6-3.
Katie Volynets scored the biggest win of her career with a 6-4 2-6 6-2 upset of ninth seed Veronika Kudermetova, and became the first American qualifier to reach the women’s singles third round in Melbourne since Lindsay Davenport in 1993.
“I literally have the chills,” Volynets said. “Suddenly, you get match point and it’s like ‘wow I’ve got match point against the ninth seed’. You just start going for it and let whatever happens happen.”
Former world No 1 Karolina Pliskova lost only seven points in the first set as the Czech 30th seed beat Yulia Putintseva 6-0 7-5 to advance.
A tearful Sam Stosur received a standing ovation from the crowd after losing in the first round of the women’s doubles with Alize Cornet. The 38-year-old major winner will retire after the Australian Open.
Stosur still has the mixed doubles to come, where she will partner fellow Australian Matt Ebden.
“It’s a bit bittersweet but thank you all for coming out today. It’s been really special,” said Stosur. “I love playing, I love competing. But you get to a point where the other things become a little more difficult. I’ve loved being able to do everything I’ve been able to do.”
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