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Caroline Wozniacki, Angelique Kerber fall early at Wuhan Open

AFP-JIJI

World No. 2 Caroline Wozniacki and Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber were stunned at the Wuhan Open on Wednesday, both suffering shock defeats at the hands of less fancied opponents.

Olympic champion Monica Puig gave herself an early birthday present, beating Wozniacki 7-6 (12-10), 7-5 to reach the quarterfinals.

She was joined in the last eight by in-form Ashleigh Barty, who upset world No. 3 Kerber 7-5, 6-1.

The 51st-ranked Puig was more than a match for Australian Open champion Wozniacki, who missed an opportunity to narrow the gap at the top after world No. 1 Simona Halep was knocked out on Monday.

It was the second time this year that Puig defeated Wozniacki, who made a solid start to the match, winning the first three games.

But the Puig quickly fought her way back to win two grueling sets, the first of which was decided through a tiebreaker.

Puig, who turns 25 on Thursday, appeared unfazed by her opponent’s stature, and kept Wozniacki under pressure throughout with her aggressive play, especially during the tiebreaker, when control swayed between the two.

“I feel like we both know each other’s game well,” said Puig, who made it to the main rounds in Wuhan through the qualifiers.

“I just had to try and stay focused and be really aggressive at certain key points.”

Puig has been plagued by inconsistency since her Olympic gold in 2016, and vowed that she has dealt with the difficult aftermath of the Rio Games.