Pliskova battles past Putintseva, Birrell upsets Kasatkina

Safe hands! Cameraman catches ball as Bertens wins in Stuttgart

Australian wildcard Kimberly Birrell upset Daria Kasatkina in her homeland, while Karolina Pliskova ended 2018 with a victory.

Karolina Pliskova fought back from a set down to beat Yulia Putintseva on day one of the Brisbane International but Daria Kasatkina suffered a surprise first-round exit.

Former world number one Pliskova trailed 2-0 in the second set after losing the first, before rallying to beat Putintseva 4-6 6-3 6-4 at the Queensland Tennis Center on New Year’s Eve.

Pliskova, who will be coached by Rennae Stubbs and Conchita Martinez again this season, showed signs of rust in her first match of the year but served 11 aces and the 2017 champion broke the Kazakh four times to progress.

The fifth seed from the Czech Republic appeared to benefit from words of advice from Stubbs early in the second set as she sealed a meeting with Marie Bouzkova – who beat Sam Stosur in a match that was still going on when the clock struck midnight and ended in the early hours of 2019.


Kasatkina’s end to 2018 did not go to plan as 283-ranked Australian Kimberly Birrell claimed the scalp of the seventh seed.

Birrell beat the world number 10 from Russia 5-7 6-4 7-6 (7-3) in only the 20-year-old wildcard’s fourth tour-level match.

Destanee Aiava was another teenager to pull off a surprise win in her homeland, taking out Kristina Mladenovic 6-3 7-6 (7-2).

Sixth seed Kiki Bertens battled her way past Elise Mertens 6-2 7-6 (8-6) 6-4, while Anett Kontaveit, Donna Vekic, Harriet Dart and Lesia Tsurenko also made it through to round two.