World number one Caroline Wozniacki has suffered a setback ahead of next week’s Australian Open, crashing out in the second round of the Sydney International in straight sets at the hands of Dominika Cibulkova.
It was a rusty performance from Wozniacki, who simply had no answer to the in-form Slovakian on the way to a 6-3 6-3 defeat.
The Danish top seed landed just 57% of first serves and could convert only one of 10 break-point opportunities.
The loss leaves Wozniacki short of match practice ahead of next week’s Australian Open as she looks to win her maiden grand slam title.
Second seed Vera Zvonareva was also dumped out on a dramatic day three at Sydney Olympic Park Tennis Centre, the Russian going down in two tough sets 7-5 7-5 at the hands of Italy’s Flavia Pennetta.
In other women’s matches, third seed and two-time champion Kim Clijsters advanced to the quarter-finals by ousting Czech qualifier Barbora Zahlavova Strycova 6-1 6-4.
The Belgian dropped two service games throughout the match but more than made up for it, breaking her opponent on no less than five occasions in a dominant display.
Local hope Samantha Stosur lost a tough three-set encounter with Russia’s Svetlana Kuznetsova. Having surrendered the first set Kuznetsova rallied to topple the fourth seed 3-6 6-3 6-4 in just under two hours.
Seventh seed Victoria Azarenka of Belarus had no such worries, though, defeating Israel’s Shahar Peer 7-5 6-3. China’s Li Na, seeded eight, also progressed with a 6-4 1-6 6-4 victory over French qualifier Virginie Razzano and Alisa Kleybanova of Russia overcame Spain’s Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez 6-2 6-4.