Caroline Wozniacki’s return to the WTA Tour, after a 10-week lay-off, ended in a disastrous week on grass with a shock defeat to Anett Kontaveit.
And she came a cropper in her second match back on the circuit, beaten 6-7(5) 6-3 7-5 by the Estonian in 132 minutes.
Wozniacki, the #3 seed at the grass court Aegon Open, had cut a much more relaxed figure both on and off the court here in Nottingham.
And her 20-year-old opponent took full advantage, recovering from losing the opening set on a tight tiebreak before triumphing over the ex-Eastbourne champion.
Kontaveit, the world #97 who lost on the 1st Round at Roland Garros to US veteran Venus Williams, said: “I had a great match, I’m so happy to pull through – thanks so much for the support from the fans here.”
Wozniacki, who was absent throughout he entire clay court season because of an ankle injury, had looked flawed in her first match back but overcame Turk Cagla Buyukakcay yesterday in straight sets.
And although the Dane narrowly edged the first set tiebreak, she struggled in the second set with everything to play for in the decider.
Kontaveit was relentless and sped into a 4-1 lead that had the fans supporting the underdog.
With a stunning victory within sight, Wozniacki hit a purple patch by playing percentage tennis to reel off four successive games and take a 5-4 lead to come within a whisker of winning the contest.
But Kontaveit hauled her game back, winning her serve then breaking Wozniacki to love to regain the lead.
Serving for the match, Wozniacki appeared nervous and distracted while Kontaveit delivered formidable shots to deliver the knockout blow against the former world #1 to register her best ever result.
“It was tough losing the first set, but I guess that’s how tennis goes.
“Sometimes you win those close points, sometimes you lose them – but you just have to keep fighting.
“The tactic was to try to put her under pressure, be aggressive. That’s how I play.”
Beaten Wozniacki said: “The match was up and down, but she played well, so hats off to her.
“At the end of the day, I’m just happy that I’m able to play again.
“One step in the right direction, and from here I’ll just move forward, know what I can work on and hopefully get better.
“The main thing is that my ankle is holding up, so I’m pleased with that. Before I came here, I was a little worried; I didn’t know if it would hold up or not. But after my first match it felt good, and this morning I felt surprisingly well, compared to how I thought I was going to feel.
“So today, I just played, and didn’t have to think about it. But I’m disappointed to have lost today, especially when you’re so close.
“But it is what it is, and all in all, I got a couple of matches – and hopefully it’s onwards and upwards from here.”