Russian Alisa Kleybanova has been eliminated in the first round of women’s qualifying for AO2014 as she embarks on her first full season on the tour since undertaking treatment for cancer.
Kleybanova faced a difficult task - drawn to play No.9 qualifying seed Kristyna Pliskova – and was unable to match the rising Czech as Pliskova won 6-3 6-4.
The Russian made a strong start to the match, breezing through her first service game with three aces. But, they were the only three aces of the match for the Russian, with Kleybanova’s next service game not so comfortable, as Pliskova capitalised on two break points to secure an early break and a 3-1 advantage.
The 24-year-old was able to save two set points in the eighth game of the set, but the resistance was short-lived as Pliskova recovered from an untimely double fault to take the first set 6-3 in 33 minutes.
World-ranked No.122 Pliskova looked full of confidence on the back of last week’s second round appearance at the Auckland WTA event.
The 21-year-old seemingly worked her opponent out of the contest, as Kleybanova was forced to cover plenty of territory to stay in rallies.
Left-handed Pliskova hit 32 winners and 17 aces, compared to just 17 winners by the former world No.20 Kleybanova.
The second set lasted 51 minutes, as Kleybanova fought hard, but Pliskova always looked in control following a break of serve in the opening game of the set.
The No.9 qualifying seed completed her straight sets victory by taking the second set 6-4.
Kleybanova - now ranked No.188 - is returning to the circuit full time in 2014 after resuming midway through 2013 after treatment for cancer.
In 2011 Kleybanova was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
Her two-year fight saw her return last year, where she reached the quarterfinal of the WTA event in her birthplace, Moscow, and the second round of the US Open.
Pliskova now advances to the second round of women’s qualifying where either American Victoria Duval or Ukrainian Yuliya Beygelzimer awaits.
The Czech requires two more wins to advance to the Australian Open main draw for the second consecutive year, after being eliminated in the round of 64 in last year’s event.