Wellington - Svetlana Kuznetsova joined the
growing list of seeded players making an early exit from the WTA Auckland
Classic on Wednesday while tour battlers continued to shine.
Fourth seed Kuznetsova was beaten in
straight sets by Austrian qualifier Tamira Paszek while seventh seed Barbora
Strycova went down to German Julia Goerges.
Going into the quarter-finals on Thursday,
third-seed Caroline Wozniacki and fifth-seed Sloane Stephens are the only
seeded players remaining and both are in the same half of the draw.
The exit of the big names began in the
first round when Venus Williams and Ana Ivanovic were both beaten.
Williams conqueror, Daria Kasatkina, could
progress no further, beaten in her second match by 66th-ranked Nao Hibino of
However, Naomi Broady followed up from her
upset victory over Ivanovic to come from one set down to beat Latvian Jelena
Ostapenko 4-6, 7-6 (7/4), 7-5 in a spiteful match.
During the second-set tie-break, Broady
appealed for Ostapenko to be disqualified after the Latvian threw her racket
and it appeared to hit a ballboy, however the umpire allowed play to continue.
"It was quite clear that she threw her
racket and it hit a ball kid, which should be straight disqualified,"
"The chair umpire said Jelena said to
him that it slipped from her hand, so he said it was just a code violation or
Paszek, ranked 172, and fellow qualifier
Kirsten Flipkins, who turns 30 on Sunday and is ranked 85, have emerged as two
of the strongest underdogs but are set to clash in the quarter-finals.
Flipkins made the final eight with a 6-1,
4-6, 6-2 win over American Irina Falconi.
"Anything could happen from here.
Paszek will be a tough opponent. She beat Kuznetsova quite easy. I saw a little
bit of the match and she was on fire," Flipkins said.