Top seed Elina Svitolina‘s Brisbane International title defence is over after crashing out in a three-set loss to Aliaksandra Sasnovich.
Twelve months ago, unheralded Belarusian Sasnovich made the most surprising run of Brisbane International 2018, winning seven straight matches as a qualifier to reach the final.
On Wednesday night, the 24-year-old avenged her final defeat, ousting the defending champion 6-4 0-6 6-3.
“To be honest Australia is my favourite country and you are my favourite public,” Sasnovich said. “Today was a really tough match. It was a good first set from my side, not so good from my side second set, so I’m lucky to win I think.
“Last year I ate too much risotto with mushrooms before the match and this time I didn’t. I changed my food plan.”
“It’s my second favourite place… after my country. Sorry guys.”
— #BrisbaneTennis (@BrisbaneTennis) January 2, 2019
World No.4 Svitolina was afforded a first-round bye and she came out rusty, winning just 35 per cent of points on her second serve in the first set.
The Ukrainian looked like restoring order when she dominated the second by breathing life into her service game.
But the revival was short-lived as her 30th-ranked opponent broke in the third game of the decider and again for match point to exact revenge for being convincingly beaten in the final last year.
“I’m really happy to be back and looking forward to my next match,” Sasnovich said. “I hope my dad will come the 4th of January and I hope I will still be playing. I’ll try to still be in the tournament. I want him to watch me.”
Sasnovich will face Donna Vekic in the quarter-finals after the Croatian earlier saved two match points to upset Kiki Bertens.