BRISBANE, Australia - Caroline Wozniacki had one of the strongest finishes to the 2012 season, going 18-3 after the US Open, but the start to her 2013 season wasn't as peachy, as she dropped her first round match at the Brisbane International on Monday to Ksenia Pervak, 26 63 76(1).
For the third time in three meetings the two players split sets to go to a third, but while Wozniacki was able to prevail in their two previous third sets, this time it was Pervak - the Kazakh came from 2-0, 30-0 down and absolutely cruised through the breaker to pull off the first seeded upset of the week.
"Last time I played Caroline was in Madrid this year and I was up 3-1 in the third and 15-40 on her serve," an elated Pervak said after the match. "When I went on court I knew it was going to be a tough match, but I also knew if I played my game to the end, I would probably have chances."
And what about the near-perfect tie-break? "I just told myself I need to focus on every point and just play my game as aggressively as I can, otherwise she would start doing the same and not making mistakes. She was No.1. She's really mentally tough. I really wanted to win, and that was my only chance."
"It's tough to lose 7-6 in the third - it could have gone either way, but it didn't go my way today," Wozniacki said. "I had a good off-season. I've been working very hard. It's just always tough to play your first match of the season - it's hard to come back and play your best level in the very first match. And she had three matches going into this one and was more used to the courts and everything, so that's maybe a bit of an advantage. I did my best out there. I fought to the end. It just wasn't enough today."
Pervak's win over the No.10-ranked Wozniacki was her first Top 10 win. She was 0-6 beforehand.
Arvidsson was asked if she saw the upset coming. "Not really - I was just excited to play the night match against Sam on this nice court," the humble Swede replied. "The first day I came here I got to practice on this arena and I said, 'Oh, I hope I can play a match here.' So yes, it was nice."
"It's too bad to leave Brissie so early again," Stosur said. "At times I played well to get into a position where I was going to keep on, but then I'd play a scrappy couple of points and all of a sudden get down another break or something like that. So I think it was some good tennis and some pretty average tennis at times. I probably didn't play well enough when I had those opportunities to try and get ahead."
The other two seeds in action both made the second round: No.4 seed Angelique Kerber looked headed for a straight set win as she built a 62 42 lead on Anna Tatishvili, but she ended up losing that second set and closing the Georgian out in three sets, 62 46 62; No.5 seed Sara Errani reeled off the last six games of both the first and second sets to beat Olga Puchkova in straight sets, 61 63.
"It's tough to play a qualifier right at the start of the season, because they've already played three good matches to get into the main draw," Errani said of the big-hitting Puchkova. "But I felt good on the court, better than in practice. And while it was hot out there, I had some good preparation in the off-season.
"I also had a week at home and a week in the Maldives. I'm ready to play."
Errani was also asked about getting back to the doubles court this week as the No.1 team in the world with good friend Roberta Vinci. "We had a great season last year and of course everybody says there's more pressure now, but I like to play tournaments, and I like to play singles and doubles.
"Playing many matches is a challenge that I enjoy."