German Angelique Kerber suffered a third-straight loss at the Indian Wells Masters as the Australian Open champion went down 7-5 7-5 in her opening match to 64th-ranked Czech Denise Allertova on Saturday (Sunday AEDT).
Kerber, who shot to world No.2 on the WTA rankings after beating Serena Williams for the Melbourne title six weeks ago, was unable to produce her best form in the California desert and chalked up her third-straight opening loss at the venue.
Kerber’s defeat was her third this season after Sydney and a Fed Cup match against Belinda Bencic of Switzerland.
The seed was playing with tape around her upper thigh but said that the physical problem could not be blamed.
“My leg was bothering me in the last few days already, so I was taping it and I was trying it,” Kerber said.
“It will be helping a little bit, but at the end the match I was feeling it a little bit more. But it’s not the excuse why I lost the match.”
Kerber said she was trying to find her rhythm, while Allertova “was playing not bad today.”
Britain’s Johanna Konta produced a big win as she swept the last eight games to reach the third round over American Madison Brengle 6-4 6-0.
Australia’s Samantha Stosur is due to play Yanina Wickmayer later on Sunday AEDT.