Michael Burgess is a sports writer for the Herald on Sunday.

Tennis: Ana Ivanovic, Venus Williams knocked out in the first round of the ASB Classic

Ana Ivanovic leaves the court after her loss to Naomi Broady. Photo / Greg Bowker
Ana Ivanovic leaves the court after her loss to Naomi Broady. Photo / Greg Bowker

The top two seeds are out of the ASB Women's Classic.

Second seed Ana Ivanovic has followed top seed Venus Williams in being bundled out of the tournament, losing 7-5, 6-4 to Brit Naomi Broady.

An emotional Broady could barely contain her emotions, after capitalising on a third match point.

Earlier Venus Williams lost 7-6, 3-6, 3-6 to 18 year old Daria Kasatkina.

The defending champion - who had a 9-1 record at the tournament before this match - looked out of sorts throughout the entire match, while Kasatkina produced the performance of her life.

It's normal for players to suffer from early season rust, but the top seed just couldn't get going against the World No75.

The American still had plenty of sublime moments but couldn't stop making errors, particularly at crucial times. She had chances to wrap up the first set before the tiebreak and held a 3-1 lead in the final set, before losing five consecutive games.

Williams accumulated 73 unforced errors, making it impossible to win any game, let alone against someone who was returning everything with interest.

"She is an amazing tennis player and I respect her so much," said a stunned Kasatkina. "It was an unbelievable match for me."

Kasatkina is a former French Open junior champion but has never won a tournament - or reached a final - at WTA level.

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- NZ Herald

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