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Baghdatis loses in first round

January 05, 2009 17:21 IST

Former Australian Open finalist Marcos Baghdatis crashed out of the Brisbane International on Monday with a first round loss to Finland's Jarkko Nieminen.

Baghdatis, who developed a cult following in Australia during his fairytale run to the 2006 Australian Open final, squandered an early lead to lose 5-7, 6-1, 6-4.

The Cypriot struggled throughout most of 2008 with a back injury and is still facing problems at the start of the new season, requiring treatment to a troublesome hamstring during the match.

"Physically I wasn't pretty fit," he told reporters.

"I'm not match fit and it's the thing I need to work on for the next 15 days before my next tournament.

"The leg was a bit [sore], pushing me down I couldn't push on the left one but I'm happy I played a very good first set."

Slovakia's fourth seed Daniela Hantuchova also made a hasty exit when she lost her opening round match to Italian Sara Errani 6-7, 6-4, 6-0 as three of the women's seeds bowed out on Monday.

Italian eighth-seed Francesca Schiavone lost to Belarussian Olga Govortsova 7-5, 6-2 and Japan's Ai Sugiyama, seeded ninth, fell to Australia's Sam Stosur 6-2, 6-3.

Former Australian Open champion Amelie Mauresmo of France safely booked her placed in the second round with a tight 7-6, 7-6 win over Jelena Dokic, who was playing her first professional match since May.

Dokic, who briefly left Australia to play for Serbia and Montenegro after falling out with local officials, showed glimpses of her best as she fired 31 winners past Mauresmo but 33 unforced errors ultimately cost her the chance of winning.

"It hurts knowing I had those chances against her," Dokic said. "If I got blown away maybe it wouldn't hurt so much."

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