An early exit has done nothing to dampen Venus Williams’ enthusiasm for the ASB Classic.
The American’s defence of her title failed to last beyond the first round this week after she was upset by up-and-coming Russian Daria Kasatkina 6-7 (4-7) 6-3 6-3.
It was by far the earliest departure the seven-time Grand Slam winner has made to the tournament, having been a finalist on her first visit two years ago.
But the world No.7 isn’t planning on a hasty flight out of New Zealand and she also wants to return.
“I would love to come back,” she said.
“I feel so happy here. I’m definitely going to enjoy the hospitality for a few more days before I go.”
Williams’ elimination was quickly followed by that of another big drawcard, Serbia’s Ana Ivanovic.
The 2014 champion and world No.16 went down to Britain’s Naomi Broady 7-5 6-4.
Broady, the world No.122, is one of three qualifiers into the second round, along with Belgian Kirsten Flipkens and Austrian Tamira Paszek.
Just four seeds are through, among them third seed and world No.17 Caroline Wozniacki.
The Dane overcame a sluggish start to get past Montenegro’s Danka Kovinic 6-4 6-4.
She will next face American Christina McHale, whom she leads 3-2 in head-to-head meetings after having won their last two matches.
New Zealander Marina Erakovic is also through after downing Kazakhstan’s Yuli Putintseva 7-6 (7-2) 7-6 (7-3).
The world No.135’s next opponent is Romanian Alexandra Dulgheru, who is ranked 69th.
The pair have met once before, with Dulgheru winning in Madrid in 2013.
REMAINING SEEDS AND SECOND-ROUND OPPONENTS
4-Svetlana Kuznetsova (Russia) v Tamira Paszek (Austria, qualifier)
5-Sloane Stephens (US) v Carina Witthoeft (Germany)
7-Barbora Strycova (Czech) v Julia Goerges (Germany)
3-Caroline Wozniacki v Christina McHale (US)
Marina Erakovic (NZ) v Alexandra Dulgheru (Romania)