ASB Classic: Venus crashes out; Wozniacki advances

Defending champion Venus Williams was a shock first-round casualty at the WTA ASB Classic, ousted 6-7 (4-7), 6-3, 6-3 by Russian teenager Daria Kasatkina in Auckland.

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Venus Williams... ousted in the first round.

Defending champion Venus Williams was a shock first-round casualty at the WTA ASB Classic, ousted 6-7 (4-7), 6-3, 6-3 by Russian teenager Daria Kasatkina in Auckland on Tuesday.

Much had been expected of the top-seed and seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus, who boasted a 9-1 win-loss record at the tournament after taking out last year's final. But Venus and her bid for back-to-back titles came unstuck in an error-riddled performance against unheralded 18-year-old Kasatkina — ranked 75th in the world.

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Venus won a first-set tie-break. However, it was all downhill from that point as Kasatkina regrouped to triumph in two hours and 17 minutes at the International series event.

"She is an amazing tennis player and I respect her so much," said Kasatkina, who will meet Nao Hibino for a place in the quarter-finals. "It was an unbelievable match for me."

Third seed and former World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki managed to win through to the second round after seeing off Danka Kovinic 6-4, 6-4. Wozniacki, who lost to Venus in last year's decider, was forced to dig deep against the combative Kovinic, having trailed 4-0 before winning six consecutive games to claim the first set.

The two-time U.S. Open runner-up and Kovinic exchanged breaks late in the second set before the former eventually closed out the match.

Next up for Wozniacki is Christina McHale, who defeated Misaki Doi 6-2, 6-4.

In another upset British qualifier Naomi Broady, who only learned on Monday she was in the main draw after coming through the qualifying tournament, fired down 14 aces to overpower Ana Ivanovic 7-5, 6-4, winning the second set and match on a service break.

Barbora Strycova advanced with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Kiki Bertens, former French Open champion Francesco Schiavone bowed out of the tournament, beaten 7-6 (7-3), 4-6, 6-3 by Austrian qualifier Tamira Paszek, qualifier Kirsten Flipkens edged Bethanie Mattek-Sands 3-6, 6-4 6-3, while Lucie Hradecka lost to Julia Goerges in straight sets, 6-0, 6-3.