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Watson bows out of Brisbane international

ESPN staff
December 30, 2013 « Wenger: Giroud will need a rest | Chartbeat test »
Heather Watson had to qualify for the main round draw © Getty Images
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Heather Watson is out of the Brisbane International after losing her first round match 6-4 6-3 to ninth seed Dominika Cibulkova.

Watson had qualified for the main draw after beating Jarmila Gajdosova 6-4 6-4 on Sunday. However, the Brit was ousted after an hour and 36 minutes on court against Cibulkova.

The British No. 3 reached a career-high 39th in the world rankings last February, but a combination of poor form and suffering glandular fever now sees her ranked at No. 133.

Elsewhere, Maria Sharapova saw off Caroline Garcia 6-3 6-0 on her competitive return from injury.

"It's been four months ... [so] it was a big step for me," Sharapova said. "It was a big step to come and a big step to play out there tonight. These matches are what I came here for. No matter the opponent or the situation, you know, they're really priceless for me at this point, and extremely important."

She now faces 17-year-old Australian qualifier Ashleigh Barty, who beat 2012 Brisbane finalist Daniela Hantuchova 6-3 7-5.

Jelena Jankovic saw of Francesca Schiavone in straight sets while eighth seed Carla Suarez Navarro eased past Su-Wei Hsieh. Kaia Kanepi is through to the second round following her 6-3 6-7(8) 6-2 win over Alexandra Panova.

Angelique Kerber and Dominika Cibulkova also advanced.

On the men's side, Grigor Dimitrov beat Robin Haase 6-2 6-3 in the last match of the day on centre court. Sam Querrey upset Dmitry Tursunov 7-5 6-4 while Marin Cilic sealed a 6-7(3) 7-6(5) 6-4 win over Denis Istomin. Jarkko Nieminen saw off James Duckworth 6-2 6-3.

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