Kvitova, Errani and Venus crash in Melbourne

Frank Dalleres
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FORMER Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova was at a loss to explain her shock exit after becoming the biggest casualty of the first day at the Australian Open yesterday.

Sixth seed Kvitova fell to Thailand’s Luksika Kumkhum 6-2, 1-6, 6-4 in one of several upsets in the women’s draw, which also saw Venus Williams and Italian pair Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci crash out in Melbourne.

“I really want to know what happened out there,” said the Czech.

“Unfortunately I didn’t play well. I didn’t play my game that I really tried all off-season to work on. It was a great off-season. I was really excited to be here, feeling good. But I think that probably I wanted it too much, and then everything just fell down.”

Seven-time grand slam winner Venus Williams insisted she would not be retiring despite losing to Russian 22nd seed Ekaterina Makarova 2-6, 6-4, 6-4. The world No37 said: “The last 12 months I’ve had issues, but this year I definitely am looking forward to having a good run.”

Seventh seed and former French Open finalist Errani lost 6-3, 6-2 to Germany’s Julia Goerges, while Vinci was beaten 6-4, 6-3 by China’s Zheng Jie.

Top seed and world No1 Serena Williams thrashed Australian Ashleigh Barty in straight sets while men’s defending champion Novak Djokovic was made to work a little harder.

In his first match since hiring six-time grand slam winner Boris Becker as coach, second seed Djokovic beat Slovakian Lukas Lacko 6-3, 7-6 (7-2), 6-1.

There were few surprises in the men’s draw, where third seed and last year’s semi-finalist David Ferrer beat Colombian Alejandro Gonzalez in straight sets.

Seventh seed Tomas Berdych, who could meet Ferrer in the last eight, beat Kazakhstan’s Aleksandr Nedovyesov with similar ease, while 12th seed Stanislas Wawrinka advanced after his opponent Andrey Gobulev retired.

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