Three-time grand slam winner Angelique Kerber suffered a back injury that forced her to withdraw from the Adelaide International on Wednesday with the Australian Open just around the corner.

Kerber, who won the Australian Open in 2016, had lost the first set to Dayana Yastremska 6-3 and was a break down in the second when she required on-court medical assistance.

After being put through a series of stretches, the former world number one decided she was unable to carry on and retired, allowing Yastremska to reach the last eight of the competition, where she will meet Donna Vekic after her 2-6 7-5 6-1 win over Maria Sakkari.

The most impressive win of the day belonged to Marketa Vondrousova, however, as last year's French Open runner-up claimed a stunning 6-0 6-0 victory over home hope Arina Rodionova, setting up a meeting with another Aussie in the quarters – world number one Ash Barty.

Vondrousova, 20, is taking part in her first tournament since Wimbledon after undergoing wrist surgery in September and will be out for revenge against Barty, who beat her at Roland Garros in June.

Fourth seed Belinda Bencic came through a tight tussle with Julia Goerges to emerge a 7-6 (8-6) 7-6 (7-4) victor, with her last-eight opponent Danielle Collins having significantly less difficulty against fellow American Sofia Kenin – the unseeded 26-year-old winning 6-3 6-1.

The fourth quarter-final will see Aryna Sabalenka go head-to-head with Simona Halep, after the Belarussian sixth seed eliminated Bernarda Pera 7-6 (7-4) 6-2.

Elise Mertens remains on course for a third Hobart International title after the top seed dropped single game in her 6-1 6-0 defeat of Viktoria Kuzmova, setting up a quarter-final with Great Britain's Heather Watson, a 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 winner against Fiona Ferro.

Aussie wildcard Lizette Cabrera claimed a 4-6 6-4 6-4 upset over Kristyna Pliskova, while second seed Garbine Muguruza edged past Ons Jabeur 3-6 6-3 7-6 (7-4) and will face Veronika Kudermetova.

Shuai Zhang, Lauren Davis and Elena Rybakina are also into the quarter-finals following respective triumphs over Kateryna Kozlova, Magda Linette and Alize Cornet on Wednesday.

Ash Barty escaped a scare against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova to secure a first singles win of the year and Simona Halep also reached the quarter-finals of the Adelaide International.

Home hope Barty benefited from a bye into the second round, but no one could accuse her opponent of allowing her an easy stroll into the last eight, the world number one eventually coming out on top 4-6 6-3 7-5 after two hours and nine minutes on court.

The French Open champion was beaten by Jennifer Brady in her opening singles contest of 2020 at the Brisbane International last week and was in danger of falling at the first hurdle again on Tuesday.

Barty raised her game after losing the first set before a thrilling decider swung back and forth with a total of five breaks of serve, including when the top seed was twice serving for the match at 5-2 and 5-4. 

But the Australian bounced straight back with a break of her own to move 6-5 in front and then served it out at the third attempt to set up a meeting with either eighth seed Marketa Vondrousova or Arina Rodionova, the Australian qualifier who surprisingly saw off Sloane Stephens 6-2 6-2 in the first round.

Joining Barty in the quarters is Wimbledon champion Halep, who dealt with another Australian in the form of wildcard Ajla Tomljanovic 6-4 7-5 in her first singles contest of the season.

The second seed from Romania, who struck 19 winners and made only 11 unforced errors, will now face Aryna Sabalenka or Bernarda Pera in the final eight after they defeated Su-wei Hsieh and Barbora Strycova, respectively.

Maria Sakkari, Donna Vekic and Julia Goerges came through first-round ties.

Top seed Elise Mertens eased into round two of the Hobart International, thrashing Christina McHale 6-1 6-1, and Garbine Muguruza advanced with a 6-1 7-5 defeat of Wang Yafan. 

Caroline Garcia, the eighth seed, was send packing by Australian outsider Lizette Cabrera on a day which also saw Elena Rybakina, CiCi Bellis, Alize Cornet, Ons Jabeur and Zhang Shuai go through.

Home hope Ajla Tomljanovic overcame a self-confessed lack of focus to beat Yulia Putintseva 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 and secure a second-round clash with Adelaide International second seed Simona Halep.

Tomljanovic fell 3-0 behind before battling back to take the first set to a tie-break, where she held her nerve before rounding out the win in more convincing fashion in the second.

"Not the greatest start," said Tomljanovic. "I don't even think it was nerves. I wasn't too focused at the start.

"With her, you have to be really sharp, disciplined, but still aggressive. It took me a little bit to find the balance.

"But I think once I got going, it was a battle. I mean, she's always tough. She never gives up. She runs down every ball, really makes you win it. This is a quality win for me."

Another Australian in the draw is top seed Ashleigh Barty, who got a first-round bye and will now face Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova following the Russian's 6-2 6-4 win over Anett Kontaveit.

Fourth seed Belinda Bencic beat Daria Kasatkina 6-4 6-4, while Sofia Kenin defeated Viktorija Golubic 6-0 6-4.

Other first-round results saw former world number one Angelique Kerber down Wang Qiang 6-1 6-3, Dayana Yastremska beat Timea Babos 7-5 6-3, and American Danielle Rose Collins dump out Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-3 6-2.

At the Hobart International, seventh seed Rebecca Peterson retired hurt against Fiona Ferro, but fellow seeds Magda Linette and Veronika Kudermetova progressed without cause for concern.

World number six Stefanos Tsitsipas eased past Andrey Rublev to secure a Mubadala World Tennis Championship semi-final against defending champion Novak Djokovic.

Just weeks out from the start of the 2020 ATP Tour season, Tsitsipas geared up for the new campaign with a dominant win in the opening match of the Abu Dhabi exhibition tournament.

The Greek, who won the 2019 ATP Finals, saw off Rublev - a deputy for Gael Monfils - 6-3 6-4, seizing his first match point.

Djokovic is up next, with Tsitsipas having won twice and lost twice in competitive meetings with the great Serbian, each of them coming at Masters 1000 tournaments.

In the other semi-final, Rafael Nadal will renew his one-sided rivalry with Karen Khachanov, who saw off Hyeon Chung 7-6 (7-4) 6-4.

Top-ranked Nadal has won each of his seven prior meetings with Khachanov, including as recently as at the Davis Cup Finals, where Spain went on to claim the title.

Khachanov had stepped in for fellow Russian Daniil Medvedev, the outstanding star of the second half of 2019, who pushed Nadal to five sets in the US Open final.

Rublev and Chung will now meet in Friday's fifth-place play-off before the two last-four clashes.

Meanwhile, in the one-off women's exhibition, five-time major champion Maria Sharapova saw off Ajla Tomljanovic in straight sets.

The 32-year-old edged a break-heavy opener but trailed in the second set before levelling and then nudging in front to avoid a tie-break, triumphing 6-4 7-5.

Kristina Mladenovic and Caroline Garcia made up for their painful 2016 Fed Cup final defeat as the pair overcame Ashleigh Barty and Samantha Stosur to secure France's third title.

Barty was flawless as she drew Australia level on day one with a 6-0 6-0 triumph over Garcia, but the world number one failed to recapture her form on Saturday as the hosts went down 3-2.

WTA Finals champion Barty started well in Perth and looked to be on the verge of another dominant win when she went a set up against Mladenovic in her singles rubber, yet it was the world number 40 who proved the star of day two.

After a sensational 2-6 6-4 7-6 (7-1) comeback victory over Barty, Mladenovic starred alongside Garcia as France clinched the trophy with a 6-4 6-3 doubles win, three years on from the same pairing suffering defeat to the Czech Republic in a decider.

"There are lots of emotions, to share this with Caro," Mladenovic said after a superb, instinctive volley from Garcia had proved too much for Barty's partner Samantha Stosur to handle on France's third match point.

"Three years ago we failed on the last step of the tie and we just wanted to take revenge for ourselves. It's indescribable how we feel right now."

Ajla Tomljanovic had stepped up for Australia by overcoming Pauline Parmentier 6-4 7-5 in Saturday's second singles contest to set up the grandstand finish, before Barty and Stosur made a fine start in the decider with an immediate break.

However, Mladenovic and Garcia rallied to draw level at 2-2 and a second break handed them the opening set.

Successive concessions of serve from the Australians put France into a commanding position in the second set, with Barty and Stosur subsequently failing to take advantage of three break points in the next game.

France were in no mood to let victory slip out of their grasp and – after Australia clawed back two match points to hold serve – Garcia's reactions got the better of Stosur, sparking jubilant celebrations from Julien Benneteau's team.

"I'm the proudest man on the planet right now," France's captain said. "It's a dream for me. I'm going to have a lot of beers!"

World number one Ashleigh Barty crushed Caroline Garcia 6-0 6-0 to square the Fed Cup final at 1-1 at the end of play on Saturday.

Australia trailed France following the opening rubber but were back level just 56 minutes after Barty took to the court in Perth.

The WTA Finals champion sent down eight aces and hit 15 winners to set up a blockbuster showdown with Kristina Mladenovic, who earlier breezed past Ajla Tomljanovic.

Mladenovic broke serve in the opening game and never looked back in a convincing 6-1 6-1 victory, but will have a tougher time getting past an in-form Barty on Sunday.

"I couldn't have asked for a more perfect match," the Australian said after seeing off Garcia.

"I think that's probably the best tennis match I've ever played in my life and what a place to do it, this is incredible. I'm so happy to be back here in Perth. I started my year here, so it's a hell of a way to finish it off too."

Barty is due to partner veteran Sam Stosur in the doubles, with Mladenovic and Garcia to team up for France.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.