Defending champion Karolina Pliskova kicked off her 2018 season in stunning fashion, easing past teenage prodigy Catherine "CiCi" Bellis 6-1, 6-1 in 53 minutes to reach the quarter-finals at the Brisbane International.
Pliskova, who held the world No. 1 ranking for eight weeks last year, had been dealing with an illness in the build-up to the tournament but looked in fine form on court on Wednesday.
"I think it was quite solid. I felt okay on the court. I had some matches already in the end of the first -- well, the last year. So was not, like, big hole without matches for me," said the 25-year-old.
"So, yeah, but anyway, I was a little bit sick. So I was not really -- I didn't know how I'm going to play, how I'm going to feel. So just happy I got this win. Won quite easy. We never played. So I think good start."
The Czech faces Estonian qualifier Kaia Kanepi, the 2012 Brisbane champion, in the quarter-finals.
— WTA (@WTA) January 3, 2018
Bouchard lost to ex-world No. 1 Kerber 6-1, 6-3 in just under one hour to help Germany complete a 3-0 win over Canada in the mixed team competition.
It was Kerber’s second win in as many singles matches in Perth this week and the German, who has dropped to No. 21 in the rankings after a disappointing 2017 season looks on her way back to her best.
Bouchard, a former top-five player herself, is 4-2 head-to-head against Kerber on the WTA tour but couldn’t find her consistency against her resurgent opponent.
— Hopman Cup (@hopmancup) January 3, 2018
Nick Kyrgios has voiced his support for good friend Andy Murray, who revealed the extent of his hip injury that has kept him out of action for nearly six months now.
Kyrgios, who overcame a knee problem to battle past fellow Aussie Matthew Ebden 6-7 (3), 7-6 (5), 6-2 and reach the quarter-finals at the Brisbane International on Wednesday, has struggled with a hip issue himself last year and says he pays particular attention to it in the gym to keep it under control.
"It's pretty sad," he said of Murray's continued injury woes.
"I think he's definitely a fan favourite. He brings a lot of the people to all these tournaments. And he's a good friend of mine. And it's just sad seeing him, you know, a guy like that getting injured. Because you saw him at Wimbledon struggling and, obviously, been struggling ever since. And it sucks, you know, seeing him not being able to get it right. He's been rehabbing now for almost five months.