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Surprise loss for Kvitova

Sydney: World No. 8 Petra Kvitova’s preparations for the Australian Open suffered another setback when she was thrashed by Dominika Cibulkova in the first round of the Sydney International on Sunday.

The fifth-seeded Czech, who had lost to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the second round of the Brisbane International last week, was thumped 6-1, 6-1 by her Slovak opponent at the Sydney Olympic Park Tennis Centre.

“I played really badly and I wish I knew what I could say but I don’t know,” Kvitova, the 2011 Wimbledon champion and a semi-finalist at last year's Australian Open, told reporters.

“I’m not feeling very well right now in my confidence but I’m always looking forward to playing Grand Slams and I hope everything will be better there than here.”

Former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki got her preparations for the first Grand Slam of the season, which starts Jan. 14 in Melbourne, back on track with a confident 6-1, 6-2 win over Poland’s Urszula Radwanska. After suffering a shock first-round loss to qualifier Ksenia Pervak in Brisbane, the Dane rediscovered her touch to record a first victory of 2013.

Wozniacki has spent 67 weeks at the top of the rankings in her career but the 22-year-old slipped to No. 10 after a poor season in which she suffered first-round exits at Wimbledon and the US Open.

With boyfriend and world No. 1 golfer Rory McIlroy cheering her on from the stands, the Dane said she believed she could climb her way back to the top.

“Within myself, I believe I can get back there,” Wozniacki said. “But it's a lot of hard work and there are a lot of great players so you never know what's going to happen.