Woe for Watson but joy for Azarenka
Heather Watson's first tournament of the year ended in the second round after defeat to Kiki Bertens at the ASB Classic.
Watson has begun 2013 inside the world's top 50 and will hope to make further inroads over the next 12 months. However, defeat to world No. 63 Bertens represents a setback.
The British No. 1 was beaten 6-4 3-6 6-3 in Auckland, and the result was largely of her own making. She had 12 break opportunities against her Dutch rival, converting only five.
By contrast Bertens accepted six of ten chances on the Watson serve, which once again let the Brit down. She won 12 points on second serve in the entire contest, which increased pressure on the accuracy of her first delivery.
Watson will now focus her Australian Open preparations on Hobart next week, although she will remain in Auckland for the doubles competition for the remainder of the week.
Elsewhere, top seed Agnieszka Radwanska still looks the favourite after she beat Simona Halep 6-3 6-1. But second seed Julia Goerges is out after a 7-5 6-7(1) 6-3 loss to Johanna Larsson.
World No. 1 Victoria Azarenka got her Brisbane International campaign off to a strong start with a 6-3 6-3 victory over Sabine Lisicki. The reigning Australian Open champion broke six times en route to the quarter-finals, where she will now meet Ksenia Pervak.
At the Shenzhen Open in China, Li Na lived up to top billing with another straight sets win over Julia Cohen. The world No. 7 won 6-3 6-4 to reach the quarter-finals.