US Open winner Pennetta dumped out in Tianjin
US Open champion and Tianjin Open top seed Flavia Pennetta made a spectacular first round exit on Tuesday at the hands of a qualifier ranked more than 400 places below her.
The Italian world number eight went out to Ukrainian Lyudmyla Kichenok — ranked 414 — in straight sets, 6-3, 7-5.
Pennetta saved seven break points in the second set but ultimately went out in an hour and 38 minutes.
The 33-year-old won the biggest title of her career at Flushing Meadows last month, announcing at the time that she would retire at the end of the season — although later reserved the right to change her mind and may compete in next year’s Olympics.
She entered the Tianjin tournament with an eye towards earning points in the Road to Singapore, but her appearance at the WTA Finals may now be in jeopardy after her second early exit in as many weeks.
She was sent packing from the China Open in Beijing by Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the third round.
In Tianjin, second seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland brushed aside Ukrainian qualifier Olga Savchuk, 6-1, 6-0, in 53 minutes.
Meanwhile, Czech third seed Karolina Pliskova beat Kristina Kucova of Slovakia 3-6, 6-3, 7-5.