STUNNED: Angelique Kerber has been knocked out of the Brisbane International.
STUNNED: Angelique Kerber has been knocked out of the Brisbane International. DAVE HUNT

Kerber bounced from Brisbane International

THE world's top two women have been bundled from their Australian Open warm-up tournament in as many days on either side of the Tasman.

Angelique Kerber's campaign to keep hold of her world No.1 ranking has had a rocky start with a quarter-final exit at the Brisbane International.

Ukrainian Elina Svitolina, the youngest woman in the top 20, scored a second victory over Kerber in four months, winning 6-4 3-6 6-3 at Pat Rafter Arena on Thursday night.

Kerber made 48 unforced errors on Thursday night, 19 more than Svitoliva, to fall two rounds short of her 2016 run to the Brisbane final.

It was at least better than Serena Williams's ghastly total of 88 unforced errors in a loss in Auckland on Wednesday to American Madison Brengle.

On Friday night, Svitolina plays third-seeded Czech Karolina Pliskova, the US Open runner-up, for a place in Saturday night's final.

Kerber had 9080 rankings points this week and Williams 7050 after a year of change in which the German won her first two majors, in Melbourne and New York, at the age of 28.

Kerber is defending champion points at the Australia Open, but Williams was runner-up last summer, limiting the ground the American great can make up in January.

Kerber is top seed at the Sydney International, while Williams is devoting her week to practise for a bid for her seventh Melbourne Park crown.

Muguruza through to semis

FRENCH Open champion Garbine Muguruza defeated Svetlana Kuznetsova to book a semi-final clash with Alize Cornet at the Brisbane International.

Spaniard Garbine's 7-5 6-4 win continues her recent run against the two-time major winner from Russia.

She also defeated Kuznetsova in the season-ending WTA finals.

The tournament's fourth seed will be firm favourite against Cornet, who became the first woman through to the semi-finals after overcoming second seed Dominika Cibulkova in straight sets.

The Frenchwoman, who is the only unseeded player left in the women's draw, defeated the world No. 5 6-3 7-5.

Aussie Groth falls to Thiem

SAM Groth's Brisbane International has ended at the hands of fourth seed Dominic Thiem.

The powerful Australian, who received an injury replacement wildcard when compatriot John Millman withdrew with a hip problem, lost to the world No.8 7-6 (7-5) 6-3.

Austrian Thiem has set up a quarter-final clash with No.7 seed Grigor Dimitrov who beat Frenchman Nicolas Mahut on Thursday.

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