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British hopefuls leave Brisbane empty-handed


Down and out: Johanna Konta
Down and out: Johanna Konta

By Steve Simpson

Johanna Konta and Harriet Dart tumbled out of the Brisbane International with straight-sets defeats in the second round.

Konta was beaten 6-2 7-6 (2) by Ajla Tomljanovic, an opponent ranked nine places below her at 46th, while Dart lasted less than an hour as she went down 6-2 6-0 to Latvian Anastasija Sevastova.

The defeats, along with Andy Murray's loss, ended British interest in the hard-court tournament that serves as a warm-up for the Australian Open.

At the same event, World No.7 and fourth seed Petra Kvitova suffered a 7-5 7-6 (1) defeat to Estonia's Anett Kontaveit.

The upset of the day in Brisbane was supplied by Aliaksandra Sasnovich, who dispatched World No.4 and defending champion Elina Svitolina 6-4 0-6 6-3 to reach the quarter-finals.

At the ASB Classic in Auckland, top seeded Caroline Wozniacki beat Laura Siegemund of Germany 6-3 6-2 and number three seed Su-Wei Hsieh saw off Monica Puig 6-1 7-6 (3).

Meanwhile, Maria Sharapova had to console opponent Wang Xinyu after the Chinese teenager was forced to retire from their second-round match at the Shenzhen Open due to cramp.

Wang, the youngest player in the tournament at 17-years-old, led 6-7(4) 5-2 when she withdrew on medical grounds with a bandage wrapped around her left thigh.

Before limping from the court, she was comforted by Sharapova as she received treatment, with the five-time grand slam winner declaring "cramps suck!"

Sharapova added: "You played unbelievable, OK? Unbelievable. Take care of yourself. If you play like that you're going to be number one, I promise."

Once the match had finished, the 31-year-old Russian had more encouraging words.

"Obviously it's a tough situation. It's not the way either of us want to finish the match, win or lose," Sharapova said.

"I thought Wang was absolutely the dominant player in this match and had all the opportunities to win it, even though I felt like I was finding my stride and getting a little bit closer to the line and being more aggressive."

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