• China Open

Azarenka crashes out of China Open

ESPN staff
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Victoria Azarenka had more problems on her serve in the loss © Getty Images
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Victoria Azarenka fell at the first hurdle of her title defence after losing in a pulsating encounter to Andrea Petkovic at the China Open.

The world No. 2 was off-colour as she served 15 double faults against a player making her way back to full fitness after battling with injuries. Petkovic recovered from a break down in the final set to send the current Australian Open champion packing.

Azarenka lost to Venus Williams last week at the Pan Pacific Open in the second round, and after squaring the match at one-all against Petkovic appeared to have the upper hand.

Both players were forcing the other around the court, and the pair were involved in some tremendous rallies that resulted in delicate drop shots and one 'tweener' effort from Azarenka.

Petkovic required medical assistance midway through the second set as the German looked to be suffering from the sweltering conditions. However, the time out did not affect her play as after going a break down in the deciding set fought back to stun the Belarusian - who had trouble on her serve and handed the break to Petkovic in the ninth game of the final set via a double fault.

Former French Open champion Ana Ivanovic completed a 7-6(9) 6-1 win over US Open semi-finalist Flavia Pennetta. Ivanovic trailed 5-1 in the first set and managed to take it to a tiebreak, and after getting to grips with the conditions and her opponent stormed to the victory.

"I really struggled to find my rhythm in the beginning. I felt the ball was flying," the Serb said. "I didn't really think I could come back in the first set, but I really played well and stepped up when it was very tight, so that gave me confidence."

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