Sports

Kvitova latest big name to exit Australian Open

Kvitova latest big name to go crashing

Two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova was sent crashing out of the Australian Open yesterday by local hope Daria Gavrilova.

She became the third top-10 women's player to flop in Melbourne.

The out-of-sorts Czech sixth seed had no answer to the confident Gavrilova, who raced into a Grand Slam third round for the first time, winning 6-4, 6-4 on Margaret Court Arena.

"It was unreal. I was so nervous at the end. I'm just really proud," said the Russian-born Australian, who switched nationality only in December.

"I'm just really happy."

The 89-minute win ranks as one of Gavrilova's best, perhaps behind only a defeat of then-world No. 2 Maria Sharapova in Miami last year.

The giant-killing world No. 39 now plays France's Kristina Mladenovic tomorrow for a place in the fourth round.

Czech Kvitova, a semi-finalist at Melbourne Park in 2012, had the worst possible build-up with a gastro problem forcing her out of the Shenzhen Open and Sydney International, where she was the defending champion.

While the aggressive baseliner recovered to comfortably survive the first round, it all went wrong against Gavrilova, who partnered Nick Kyrgios to win the mixed-team Hopman Cup in Perth this month.

Gavrilova and Kvitova traded heavy groundstrokes in a high-quality meeting.

The effervescent Gavrilova was broken twice in the first set, lashing out each time.

But each time she responded to break straight back, her fist pumps becoming more frequent as she grew in confidence.

In a faultless end to the set, Gavrilova won three games without dropping a point to carry all the momentum into the second set.

A key moment then arrived at 2-3, with Kvitova twice double-faulting and making two errors to give away her serve.

Gavrilova served for the match at 5-3 but wobbled, losing the next three points to put the match back on serve.

In front of a vocal crowd, Gavrilova calmed her nerves and broke straight back to reach the third round of a Major for the first time.

The Aussie, who beat three top-10 players last year, looks good enough to continue her grand start to the year's first Grand Slam. 


- Wire Services.

The major upsets

WOMEN'S SINGLES:

  • Johanna Konta bt Venus Williams 6-4, 6-2
  • Zhang Shuai bt Simona Halep 6-4, 6-3
  • Yulia Putintseva bt Caroline Wozniacki 6-1, 7-6, 4-6
  • Daria Gavrilova bt Petra Kvitova 6-4, 6-4


MEN'S SINGLES:

  • Fernando Verdasco bt Rafael Nadal 7-6 (8-6), 4-6, 3-6, 7-6 (4-7), 6-2
australian open