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Stephens out of WTA Brisbane International

Ex-US Open champion Sloane Stephens has been sent packing from the Brisbane International but Japan's Naomi Osaka is into the quarter-finals.

Stephens out of WTA Brisbane International

Ex-US Open champion Sloane Stephens has been sent packing from the Brisbane International but Japan's Naomi Osaka is into the quarter-finals.

SLOANE STEPHENS of the United States returns a shot against Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia during the women's final on of the Miami Open Presented by Itau at Crandon Park Tennis Center in Key Biscayne, Florida.
SLOANE STEPHENS of the United States returns a shot against Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia during the women's final on of the Miami Open Presented by Itau at Crandon Park Tennis Center in Key Biscayne, Florida. Picture:Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Sloane Stephens has been bundled out of the Brisbane International in the first round but fellow US Open champion Naomi Osaka cruised into the quarter-finals.

Osaka overpowered Australian Destanee Aiava to prevail 6-3 6-2 in 69 minutes in the second-round match at Pat Rafter Arena on Tuesday.


The 18-year-old Aiava, ranked 242 places lower than her opponent, had three break points in the third game but couldn't convert, with Osaka taking the first set's decisive break the following game and control of the match.

Great Britain's Johanna Konta began the day by upsetting third-seeded American Stephens 6-4 6-3 in the first round.

Stephens began sluggishly against world No.37 Konta in their first career meeting and was punished for a string of unforced errors by the 2016 Australian Open semi-finalist.

The only respite for 2017 US Open winner Stephens came at 1-0 down in the second set when play was suspended for several minutes when a member of the crowd was treated for a medical issue.

Stephens, 25, had hoped to pick up where she left off in 2018 after entering a new season ranked in the world's top 10 for the first time.

However, Stephens must now reload at next week's Sydney International in her final hit-out before the opening grand slam in Melbourne.

It marked the 27-year-old Konta's 15th career victory over a top 10 opponent and first since knocking over world No.2 Simona Halep at 2017 Wimbledon.

"The first match of the year is never easy," Stephens lamented.

World No.7 and two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova survived a tough first-round encounter to prevail 6-7 (6-8) 7-6 (8-6) 6-3 over American Danielle Collins

Kvitova booked a second-round clash with Anett Kontaveit of Estonia while Konta is set to take on Australia's Ajla Tomljanovic.

Japan's Osaka, the US Open title holder, will play the winner of Wednesday's encounter between Latvian Anastasija Sevastova, who eliminated Australian No.2 Daria Gavrilova, and Brit Harriet Dart.

World No.46 Tomljanovic also had to dig deep in a comeback 1-6 6-3 6-0 win over Czech Katerina Siniakova.

"It's always nice to win but I felt kind of scrappy all around," Tomljanovic said after the victory over world No.31 Siniakova.

"I think I was a break down at 40-15 and it was like 26 minutes (into the match) and I was like 'oh, my God. It can't get worse than this'.

"I just kind of kept at it. I didn't expect the third to be so kind of quick and easy."

AAP


AAP




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