Undercooked Kvitova bows out after 'painful' defeat

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Tennis - Australian Open - Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia - January 18, 2022 Czech Republic's Petra Kvitova in action during her first round match against Romania's Sorana Cirstea REUTERS/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake

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MELBOURNE, Jan 18 (Reuters) - Twice former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova said she was unsurprised at bowing out of the Australian Open in the opening round on Tuesday after a difficult month Down Under.

The 2019 Australian Open finalist was ousted by Sorana Cirstea for the second successive year at Melbourne Park, the Romanian veteran easing to a 6-2 6-2 victory on John Cain Arena.

"I don't think I have much to say," said Kvitova. "It wasn't really going my way the whole month. That's how it is. It's a sport and I just have to fight through and be better at it."

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The 20th seed, who lost to Naomi Osaka in the final three years ago, entered two warm-up tournaments but ended up playing only three matches after early exits in Adelaide and Sydney.

"I didn't play a lot of matches at the beginning of this year," she added.

"I did have some health issues the whole month as well, so it was tough to practice. It wasn't really easy this beginning of the season, but the season is long, so I hope that it will turnaround."

The 31-year-old Czech opened her 2022 campaign with a stunning loss to Australian world number 221 Priscilla Hon in the first round of the Adelaide International.

She moved on to the Sydney Tennis Classic and survived a scare to get her first win of the year against Arantxa Rus before exiting the tournament in the second at the hands of Ons Jabeur.

Kvitova said she would take a few days to "see clearly" and then focus on getting as many matches as she could under her belt and hopefully kick-starting her season.

"This loss is very painful, in the first round after like a whole month," she said.

"Yeah, on one hand, I'm not surprised really how everything ended. But on the other hand, of course, when I play a match I always want to win."

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Reporting by Nick Mulvenney in Sydney, Editing by Peter Rutherford

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