December 31, 2012 / 10:32 AM / 5 years ago

Tennis-Early Auckland exits for Zheng, Kuznetsova

Dec 31 (Reuters) - Defending champion Zheng Jie and former world number two Svetlana Kuznetsova were knocked out of the Auckland Classic in the first round on Monday.

Zheng raced to a 3-0 lead before losing 13 of the next 16 games to go down 7-5 6-1 to American Jamie Hampton.

The Chinese fourth seed followed in the footsteps of Hungarian Greta Arn, who crashed out in the first round last year after winning the previous edition.

Kuznetsova, returning from a knee injury, lost 6-7(5) 6-2 7-5 to unseeded Dutch player Kiki Bertens.

The Russian, twice a grand slam winner, prevailed in a tense tie-break to win the first set, then took an extended break for a foot injury after losing the second before Bertens won the deciding set. (Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Peter Rutherford)

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