INDIAN WELLS, US: Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber, fourth seed Garbine Muguruza and Spanish star Carla Suarez Navarro were all second-round casualties at the Indian Wells hardcourt tennis tournament on Saturday (Sunday in Manila).
World No. 2 and second seed Kerber crashed out of the joint WTA and ATP event, losing her opening match in straight sets 7-5, 7-5 to Czech Denisa Allertova.
Former Wimbledon finalist Muguruza was upset by American Christina McHale 7-5, 6-1 and sixth seeded Suarez Navarro withdrew from the tournament with a right ankle injury just prior to her opening match against Daria Kasatkina.
Kerber knocked off Serena Williams in the Australian Open final in January for the first Grand Slam tournament victory of her career.
But Kerber’s biggest problem on the WTA Tour has been inconsistency. She played superbly in Australia but then lost her first match at Doha. This is the third straight year she has lost her opening match at Indian Wells.
“If you lose in the first round you always have the next week to make it better,” she said.
“I achieved my goal of winning a Grand Slam. Nobody can take that away from me.”
The 28-year-old German said there are now more demands on her time since her victory in Australia.
“The pressure is much different than it was a few months ago,” she said. “I will try to learn from this experience. It was a busy week for me. It is a new situation I have to try to get used to.”
Kerber said the trophy she won at the Australian Open recently arrived at her home and now sits in the middle of her living room.
“It was a great feeling and it is the highlight of my career right now,” she said.
Kerber had no aces and four double faults Saturday. She had her serve broken four times in the 98-minute main stadium match.
In other women’s matches, seventh seeded Belinda Bencic of Switzerland beat American Laura Davis 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, Eugenie Bouchard beat Sloane Stephens 7-5, 7-5 and Italian Roberta Vinci outlasted Margarita Gasparyan 6-3, 6-7 (7), 7-6 (5).