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Kanepi upsets Puig as more seeds fall in Melbourne

Kaia Kanepi caused an upset by defeating World No.58 Monica Puig, 6-4, 6-3 to progress through to the third round of the Australian Open.

The Estonian, who defeated No.24 seed Dominika Cibulkova in straight sets in the first round, turned in an equally assured performance to win through after an hour and 20 minutes on Show Court 3.

Brisbane quarterfinalist Kaia Kanepi continued her impressive form at the Australian Open by defeating Monica Puig in straight sets.
Having finished 2017 in sharp form, reaching the Luxembourg final in October, Puig started as favourite against an opponent ranked World No.79. But she found the 32-year-old, who was ranked No.471 this time last year before returning from injury hiatus in spectacular fashion by reaching the US Open quarterfinals last year, in fine touch.

Indeed, Kanepi returned especially well in the first set and played the big moments superbly, winning five of the eight break points that she earned. Puerto Rican Puig was able to keep in touch by earning three breaks of her own, yet a high error count on the forehand side proved costly.

Earlier on the same court, Magdalena Rybarikova, the No.19 seed for the tournament, survived a second-set lapse to overcome Kirsten Flipkens. Having taken the opener 6-4, the Slovak was bagelled in the second before powering through to claim the decider 6-2.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, the No.15 seed, was not as fortunate when she tackled Kateryna Bondarenko, as she was eased out of the competition 6-2, 6-3 by the World No.92 - the only mother remaining in the singles competition.

Another seed to fall was No.22 Daria Kasatkina, who was bested 7-6(4), 6-2 by Poland’s Magda Linette.

That match immediately preceded Kiki Bertens’ clash with Nicole Gibbs, but while the Dutchwoman was made to fight all the way to claim the first, she eventually came through comfortably, 7-6(3), 6-0.

There was, however, another upset on Court 7, where qualifier Denisa Allertova made progress to the third round by ousting Zhang Shuai 6-4, 7-6(5). The Chinese World No.36 might have been ranked 94 places better than her opponent, but was outhit over an hour-and-a-half.

Petra Martic overcame Irina-Camelia Begu, conqueror of No.31 seed Ekaterina Makarova just two days previously, 6-4, 7-6(3). The Croat has now made at least the third round in three of the past four Slams.

Anett Kontaveit, the No.32 seed, avoided the spate of upsets as she dispatched Mona Barthel 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 in little more than an hour-and-a-half, while two-time Australian Open quarterfinalist Carla Suárez Navarro came out on top 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 against Timea Babos.

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