Melbourne - Former world number one
Caroline Wozniacki crashed out of the Australian Open at the first hurdle
on Monday after tossing away a one-set lead against Kazakhstan's Yulia Putintseva.
The Dane, who remains one of the most
marketable players in tennis despite never winning a major in 35 attempts,
again failed to break her Grand Slam drought.
She romped through the first set against
the 76th-ranked Putintseva but as the Kazakh's confidence, grew Wozniacki
struggled to cope with her opponent's baseline game and went down 1-6, 7-6
(7/3), 6-4 in 3hrs 12 mins.
"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
"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."
Her reward is a second round-clash with
Chinese wildcard Han Xinyun, and a potential fourth-round encounter with world
number one Serena Williams.
It was a disappointing start to the year
for Wozniacki, who has struggled to regain the form that saw her end 2010 and
2011 as world number one.
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.