World No 1 Caroline Wozniacki shrugged off defeat in her first competitive match of the year at the Sydney International yesterday, saying she would be ready to go at the Australian Open next week.
Wozniacki went down 6-3, 6-3 to Slovakia's Dominika Cibulkova in a rain-disrupted second-round match and was later joined at the exit by the second seed Vera Zvonareva and fourth seed Sam Stosur.
"It happens," the 20-year-old said. "Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. You need to learn from the losses. It's the first tournament of the year. I just want to get the match playing going. There were a few positive things in there that I can take out of it, and then I just need to work on the rest. But I'm confident that for Melbourne I'll be OK."
Zvonareva, the world No 2, also departed early in a 7-5, 7-5 loss to Italy's Flavia Pennetta, crumbling after fighting her way back into the match in the second set.
Stosur, the best hope of a local champion at Melbourne Park, made it a trio of upsets when she was beaten 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 by Svetlana Kuznetsova, twice a Grand Slam champion, in a sloppy match, the Russian edging the unforced error count 41-39.
The world No 3 Kim Clijsters had no such problems in her second-round match, clinically dispatching frustrated Czech Barbora Zahlavova Strycova 6-1, 6-4 to reach the quarter-finals. Clijsters, who dropped just three games in the first round, wrapped up the first set with a minimum of fuss before coming through a ding-dong second set that featured five service breaks.
"I feel that I'm really getting into a groove from the beginning of the match," said the 27-year-old, who will meet the seventh seed Victoria Azarenka in the last eight. "I think that's an important feeling to have, knowing that you can start off well and really kind of build from there.
Clijsters declared herself in tip-top condition for the year's first Grand Slam next week. "I feel good, I feel fit," said the US Open champion. "That's obviously something that adds a lot to your confidence."
The rain returned later to cause a long delay in the final match on centre court between the men's fifth seed Richard Gasquet and local wild card Matthew Ebden, but play did finally resume with the Frenchman running out a 6-4, 6-3 winner.
Britain's Elena Baltacha will resume her second-round match at the WTA Hobart International today 6-3 down to Italian fourth seed Roberta Vinci after rain suspended play yesterday.