Wozniacki swept aside by Spanish clay expert

STUTTGART, Germany (AFP) - Denmark's former world number one Caroline Wozniacki exited the WTA Stuttgart Open on Wednesday, losing 7-6 (8/6), 6-1 to Spanish clay court specialist Carla Suarez in their first round clash.

Wozniacki, seeded seven and a finalist in the tournament in 2011, had only herself to blame after letting a 3-0 lead in the first set slip away to lose in a hard fought tie-break.

However, Suarez, ranked 27th in the world to Wozniacki's 10th, eased through the second set against a demoralised Danish opponent to seal victory on her first match point and claim the scalp of a top-10 ranked player for the sixth time in her career.

Suarez, who has yet to win a WTA event despite reaching four finals, will meet Kazakh player Yaroslava Shvedova, ranked 10 places below her, in the second round.

Fifth-seed Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic later enjoyed a 7-5, 6-7(0/7), 6-3 win over wild-card Annika Beck, but only after the German put up a tough fight in the second set.

"I still don't feel really good on clay, but it's getting better," said Kvitova.

"It's better than it was in Katowice, but I want to improve more before Madrid.

"It's hard to keep the concentration high after the Fed Cup, but it's always fun to play with the girls," added Kvitova, who was part of the Czech team whose hopes of defending their Fed Cup title disappeared on Monday when they lost to Italy in the semi-finals.

Australia's Samantha Stosur, a finalist here in 2010 en route to reaching the French Open final, crashed out in the first round as she lost in straight sets 6-4, 6-4 to former world number one Jelena Jankovic.

"I knew that Sam is a very dangerous opponent, so I am happy to have beaten her," said Jankovic who plays Germany's Sabine Lisicki in Thursday's second round.

"My self confidence is coming back and every win helps." Stosur was gracious in defeat but reproached herself for a lacklustre performance.

"It was tough after a Fed Cup weekend, but that's not an excuse," she said.

"Jelena played consistently well and it's pretty disappointing to lose.

"I have a few things to improve, but there is a bit of time before the French Open." In Thursday's second round, top seed Maria Sharapova, who is using Stuttgart as preparation to defend her French Open title, will play Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic.

Second-seed Li Na of China plays Mirjana Lucic-Baroni of Croatia in the other half of the draw.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.