Tennis: Wozniacki crashes out of Aussie Open

 Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki during her women's singles match at the 2016 Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on Jan 18, 2016.
Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki during her women's singles match at the 2016 Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on Jan 18, 2016.PHOTO: AFP

(AFP) - Former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki crashed out of the Australian Open at the first hurdle on Monday after tossing away a one-set lead against Kazakhstan's Yulia Putintseva.

The Dane, who remains one of the most marketable players in tennis despite never winning a major in 35 attempts, again failed to break her Grand Slam drought.

She romped through the first set against the 76th-ranked Putintseva but as the Kazakh's confidence grew, Wozniacki struggled to cope with her opponent's baseline game and went down 1-6, 7-6 (7/3), 6-4 in 3hrs 12 mins.

"I can't believe I won the match," said 21-year-old Putintseva, who was shaking with nerves in her courtside interview and revealed she battled through blisters on her feet and toes.

"I was very nervous in the first set because I am not used to playing on such a big court. But then I got a bit more used to it."

Her reward is a second round-clash with Chinese wildcard Han Xinyun, and a potential fourth-round encounter with world No. 1 Serena Williams.

It was a disappointing start to the year for Wozniacki, who has struggled to regain the form that saw her end 2010 and 2011 as world No. 1.

She won in Malaysia last year but other highlights were few and far between.

Capping off her misery, she cut her finger badly with a bread knife and withdrew from the WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai, southern China, in November.