Bacsinszky surprise first-round casualty in Brisbane


Timea Bacsinszky's WTA Brisbane International campaign came to an end at the first hurdle, bundled out in straight sets by Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova on Sunday.

Swiss fifth seed Bacsinszky was considered among the favourites in a star-studded field including defending champion Maria Sharapova, Simona Halep, Maria Sharapova and Angelique Kerber, after reaching four finals last season, winning two.

But instead, she became the first big casualty after losing 6-2 6-1 to Russian Pavlyuchenkova in the opening round.

Pavlyuchenkova hit the ground running as she broke Bacsinszky in the second game before breaking at love to take out the first set.

And it was more of the same in the second stanza, Pavlyuchenkova going up a double break after fending off three break points early.

Bacsinszky broke back immediately to stay alive but Pavlyuchenkova was not to be denied as she eventually served out the match in an hour, four minutes.

Awaiting Pavlyuchenkova in the second round is France's Alize Cornet, who accounted for countrywoman Kristina Mladenovic 6-3 6-4.

Former Australian Open finalist Dominika Cibulkova kicked off her 2016 season in winning fashion, downing Yanina Wickmayer in three sets.

Cibulkova, who lost to Li Na in the 2014 final at Melbourne Park, rallied to beat the Belgian 3-6 6-4 6-4 in over two hours on court.

Next up for Slovak Cibulkova is either Roberta Vinci or Jelena Jankovic.

American Varvara Lepchenko earned a showdown with second seed Garbine Muguruza after she defeated Anna Karolina Schmiedlova 6-2 6-1.

Sunday's final match saw Andrea Petkovic ease past Teliana Pereira 6-1 6-2.