BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Caroline Wozniacki's first trip to the Brisbane International ended in a 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (1) first-round loss to Kazakhstan qualifier Ksenia Pervak on Monday. She quickly followed up by dismissing speculation about an engagement to golf No. 1 Rory McIlroy.
Wozniacki, who held the year-end No. 1 ranking in 2010 and 2011 but is yet to win a major title, had high-profile support from McIlroy in the crowd and there was a buzz around Pat Rafter Arena amid rumors the pair had become engaged in the off-season.
The 22-year-old Danish player was photographed with a new ring on her left hand as she arrived in Australia last week, sparking speculation of pending nuptials. She explained Monday that the ring was a gift.
"It was a Christmas present and it fit on this finger and I put it on, and all of a sudden I hear that I'm engaged. But I'm not," she said. "So, yeah, it's already twice we've had to shut down engagement rumors. Don't worry, we will let you know if that time happens!"
On the court, Wozniacki raced to a 4-1 lead before finishing off the first set within a half hour. She started to struggle with her serve as she lost the second set and then had difficulty in the third countering powerful groundstrokes from the left-handed Pervak in the first upset result of the tournament.
No. 9-ranked Samantha Stosur was also upset in a night match, losing 7-6 (4), 7-5 to No. 41 Sofia Arvidsson of Sweden to continue her run of poor form in her native Australia since winning the 2011 U.S. Open. Stosur lost her second match at the Brisbane tournament last year, then had back-to-back first-round losses at the Sydney International and the Australian Open.
With eight of the top 10 women in the draw, the Brisbane tournament was expected to provide a good chance to fine-tune for the Australian Open starting Jan. 14. Now Wozniacki and Stosur will head to Sydney hoping for some decent match practice.
"I fought until the end. Maybe didn't play my best tennis today, but it's tough to expect that from yourself in your first match back," Wozniacki said. "Now I just have to play some practice matches with some of the other girls here and then go to Sydney and hopefully get a couple more there."
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