The Apia International tournament is one of the last tuneups before the Australian Open, the year's first Grand Slam event. Not all of the top players are appearing in this year's event, but there are enough stars in action to give the winner some momentum heading into the Aussie Open.
Last year's winner on the women's side was Agnieszka Radwanska and she returned to defend her title as top seed.
The same privilege will be given to Juan Martin del Potro. He is the top seed on the men's side as last year's winner and Australian native, Bernard Tomic, comes into the tournament unranked.
He lost in the first round of four of his last tournaments in 2013. At the age of 21, Tomic still has time to regain the form he displayed early last year, but he needs to get off to a fast start.
Tomic caught some flak for celebrating his 21st birthday in a strip club—despite the woeful end to his season. He told Darren Walton of the Sydney Morning Herald:
Everyone has their off time. Some people use it differently than others. But I'm back into tennis now, back into tournaments, and this is something that is very important for me and I'm ready for the Australian summer and hopefully I can do better because each year I've started doing better and better in Australia.
How he plays in this tournament and throughout the month of January will say a lot about what can be expected of him this year.
Click here to see the full brackets for both sides of the draw, per ApiaInternational.com.
Stay tuned for daily scores and recaps of the action.
Juan Martin Del Potro (1) def Bernard Tomic; 6-3, 6-1
It all got a little embarrassing for Berbard Tomic by the end of the men's final. As the second set slipped away, Juan Martin del Potro refused to let up his intensity. He fired an array of winners that dramatically ended Tomic's chances of retaining his Sydney International crown.
It's not the way Tomic will have wanted to go into his nightmare Australian Open draw. Tomic is due to face Rafael Nadal in Tuesday's first-round match, but his confidence must now be in tatters.
Del Potro, meanwhile, leaned on his forehand and simply blasted the Australian into submission. The first set was over in 26 minutes; the whole match lasted just 53.
The Argentinian has now beaten Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray over the last year, so was always going to be the favourite. Along with his serve, he also broke Tomic's spirit with such relentless tennis.
It might not have been the result that the home crowd wanted, but you couldn't take your eyes off it. Tomic crumbled in his final service game, surrendering it to love before allowing Del Potro to serve out the match.
A brutal display that sent a real message to the rest of the tennis community.
Tsvetana Pironkova (Q) def. Angelique Kerber (5); 6-4, 6-4
Juan Martin Del Potro (1) def Dmitry Tursunov (4); 6-4, 6-2
Bernard Tomic def. Sergiy Stakhovsky (Q); 6-7, 7-5, 6-3
Tsvetana Pironkova completed a spectacular week, winning her eighth straight match to claim an unlikely victory at the Apia International Sydney.
The win marks her first WTA crown at the age of 26, as she dispatched No. 5 seed Angelique Kerber en route to the title.
Her path has included the scalps of three top-five seeds, with Petra Kvitova, Sara Errani and Kerber all defeated in straight sets.
Having slipped outside the world's top 100, Pironkova seems destined for a rapid return toward her previous high of No. 31.
On the men's side, it was semifinals day.
Top seed Juan Martin Del Potro found his rhythm, easing past Dmitry Tursunov for the loss of just six games.
He will face local favourite and the current holder, Bernard Tomic, who emerged from a tough battle against Sergiy Stakhovsky.
The final will be a high-profile affair. The pair have met once before, in Washington, where Del Potro claimed a 6-3, 6-3 victory.
But with Tomic roared on by a home crowd, this promises to be a much closer contest.
Angelique Kerber (5) def. Madison Keys; 6-4, 6-2
Tsvetana Pironkova (Q) def. Petra Kvitova (2); 6-4, 6-3
Dmitry Tursunov (4) def. Denis Istomin; 7-6(5), 6-2
Sergiy Stakhovsky (Q) def. Marinko Matosevic; 6-4, 6-3
Bernard Tomic def. Alexandr Dolgopolov; 6-4, 6-3
Juan Martin Del Potro kept his hopes of landing the Apia International prize alive with a hard-fought display over Radek Stepanek, who refused to lie down against the tournament favourite.
Del Potro failed to gain a run of consistency throughout the match. Occasionally unplayable and frequently sloppy, the Argentinian managed to quell his frustration ahead of his semi-final clash with Dmitry Tursunov, despite showing signs of anger.
As reported by Reuters and via Yahoo! Eurosport, Del Potro joked he didn't send his racquet crashing to the ground as he is only carrying two of the older Wilson types he swears by:
"Yeah, I was close, but I can't do that yet. When I get eight or 10 racquets, I will smash all of them," he said.
Elsewhere, Tursunov overcame an early scare to beat Denis Istomin in two sets, enjoying a simple 6-2 win in the second.
Bernard Tomic, last year's Apia International champion, took little over an hour to beat Alexandr Dolgopolov. Although Dolgopolov managed to save four set points during the opening exchange, he was quickly blitzed by the Australian once a firm lead was established.
Tomic's next opponent is Sergiy Stakhovsky, who used his experience to overcome Marinko Matosevic's best efforts in the other quarterfinal tie.
In the women's draw, Tsvetana Pironkova reached her first WTA final with an impressive win over Petra Kvitova.
Pironkova was once again on form against a tough opponent, and she is looking like a decent bet to take the overall prize after setting up a final showdown with Angelique Kerber, who held Madison Keys at arm's length during their semi-final contest.
Kerber's double-handed backhand has been a potent weapon throughout the tournament and is something Pironkova will need to consciously avoid if she is going to triumph.
Petra Kvitova (2) def. Lucie Safarova; 7-6(4), 6-2
Tsvetana Pironkova def. Sara Errani (3); 7-6(2), 6-3
Madison Keys def. Bethanie Mattek-Sands; Retired
Angelique Kerber (5) def. Carla Suarez Navarro; 6-2, 6-4
Sergiy Stakhovsky def. Julien Benneteau (6); 6-3, 6-2
Marinko Matosevic def. Andreas Seppi (3); 6-3, 6-4
Dmitry Tursunov (4) def. Lukas Rosol; 3-6, 6-3, 6-3
Radek Stepanek def. Albert Ramos; 6-2, 7-6(5)
Juan Martin Del Potro (1) def. Nicolas Mahut; 1-6, 6-3, 6-4
Bernard Tomic def. Blaz Kavcic; 6-3, 4-6, 6-4
Denis Istomin def. Marin Cilic (7); 6-3, 6-4
Alexandr Dolgopolov def. Jerzy Janowicz (2); 6-2, 6-2
Surprise results were in an abundance in Wednesday's action as no less than five of the nine seeded competitors in action bowed out of the running for the APIA International.
The only female representative among that number was Italy's Sara Errani, who lost a tiebreaker to Tsvetana Pironkova in their first set before failing to mount a response in the second half of the match.
Among the men, Jerzy Janowicz, Andreas Seppi, Marin Cilic and Julien Benneteau were also handed their marching orders with defeats against Alexandr Dolgopolov, Marinko Matosevic, Denis Istomin and Sergiy Stakhovsky, respectively.
The bottom half of the draw has been littered with upsets, but top dog Juan Martin Del Potro remains a strong contender for the title.
However, even he stuttered through Wednesday's match with Nicolas Mahut, losing his opening set 6-1 before launching a comeback. The wily Radek Stepanek now awaits.
Elsewhere in the women's ranks, Petra Kvitova and Angelique Kerber looked dominant in their straight-sets victories, both displaying frightful power from the baseline.
Underdog Madison Keys was given a relatively simple route to the next phase of competition after her American compatriot Bethanie Mattek-Sands was forced to retire through a lower back injury.
Sara Errani (3) def. Lauren Davis; 7-5, 6-2
Bethanie Mattek-Sands def. Agnieszka Radwanska (1); 7-5, 6-2
Angelique Kerber (5) def. Kaia Kanepi; 6-3, 6-4
Madison Keys def. Ajla Tomljanovic; 6-0, 3-6, 7-6 (3).
Petra Kvitova (2) def. Christina McHale; 6-1, 6-0.
Lucie Safarova def. Caroline Wozniacki (6); 6-4, 7-6 (7).
Tsvetana Pironkova def. Varvara Lepchenko; 6-3, 6-2.
Carla Suarez Navarro def. Ekaterina Makarova; 7-6 (4), 6-3.
Bernard Tomic def. (8) Marcel Granollers; 6-3, 6-0
Alexandr Dolgopolov def. Edouard Roger-Vasselin; 6-3, 0-0 (retired)
Marin Cilic (7) def. Jan-Lennard Struff; 3-6, 6-3, 6-3
Nicolas Mahut def. Ryan Harrison; 7-6 (2), 7-5
Sergiy Stakhovsky def. Carlos Berlocq; 6-3, 6-4.
Blaz Kavcic def. Jarkko Nieminen; 6-4, 6-3.
Radek Stepanek def. Samuel Groth; 6-7 (6), 7-6 (5), 6-2.
Marinko Matosevic def. Florian Mayer; 6-2, 4-6, 6-3.
Albert Ramos def. Sam Querrey; 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.
The headline story from Tuesday's action was No. 1 seed Agnieszka Radwanska falling to Bethanie Mattek-Sands. The favourite for the women's crown lost in just 92 minutes and was particularly disappointing in the second set.
Elsewhere, the seeded Petra Kvitova, Sara Errani and Angelique Kerber all secured safe passages to the quarterfinals, but Caroline Wozniacki fell to world No. 19, Lucie Safarova.
On the men's side, local favourite Bernard Tomic breezed past No. 8 seed, Marcel Granollers, winning the final set to love. Marin Cilic also advanced, in a far tougher contest, while the experienced Radek Stepanek emerged from the tightest match of the day.
Victories for Nicolas Mahut and Alexandr Dolgopolov ensured they will meet top seeds Juan Martin del Potro and Jerzy Janowicz in the last 16.
Kaia Kanepi def. Victoria Duval; 6-1, 6-3
Christina McHale def. Alize Cornet; 6-7 (7-4), 6-2, 7-5
Carla Suarez-Navarro def. Paula Ormaechea; 6-3, 6-7 (7-5), 6-2
Varvara Lepchekno def. Svetlana Kuznetsova; 6-3, 3-6, 7-5
Tsvetana Pironkova def. Sorana Cirstea; 6-4, 6-1
Angelique Kerber (5) def. Dominika Cibulkova; 7-6 (7-5), 7-5
Caroline Wozniacki (6) def. Julia Goerges; 3-6, 6-2, 6-4
Lauren Davis def. Jarmila Gajdosova; 6-4, 7-6 (10-8)
Ekaterina Makarova def. Jelena Jankovic (4); 6-4, 6-2
Lukas Rosol def. Joao Sousa; 7-6 (7-5), 4-6, 7-6 (7-1)
Denis Istomin def. Pablo Andujar; 6-1, 6-2
(6) Julien Benneteau def. Matthew Ebden; 6-2, 6-2
The women's bracket saw all three seeds in action face tough examinations.
Caroline Wozniacki eventually had enough to dispose of Julia Goerges in three sets, while Angelique Kerber took out former French Open semifinalist, Dominika Cibulkova, in two tight sets.
However, No. 4 Jelena Jankovic fell to Ekaterina Makarova, twice an Australian Open quarterfinalist and a player capable of going further this year.
On the men's side Julien Benneteau was able to advance in straight-forward fashion, as did Denis Istomin, while Lukas Rosol emerged from an absorbing match with Joao Sousa in three.
Sara Errani will be in action on Sunday
Madison Keys def. (7) Simona Halep; 6-1, 6-4
(3) Sara Errani def. Roberta Vinci; 6-4, 6-2
Ajla Tomljanovic def. Daniela Hantuchova; 6-4, 7-5
Bethanie Mattek-Sands def. Julia Goerges; 3-2
Tsvetana Pironkova def. Shahar Pe'er; 6-3, 6-7, 6-3
Victoria Duval def. Varvara Lepchenko; 7-5, 7-5
Christina McHale def. Yaroslava Shvedova; 6-3, 6-4
Lauren Davis def. Chanelle Scheepers; 7-6, 6-3
Paula Ormaechea def. Anna Schmiedlova; 7-6, 6-1
Alex Bogomolov Jr. def. John-Patrick Smith; 6-4, 6-3
Ryan Harrison def. Stephane Robert; 6-3, 6-2
Henri Laaksonen def. Andrey Golubev; 7-5, 6-1
Albert Ramos def. Wayne Odesnik; 6-4, 5-0
Blaz Kavcic def. Go Soeda; 6-1, 7-6
Jiri Vesely def. Jordan Thompson; 6-7, 6-3, 6-1
Jan-Lennard Struff def. Somdev Devvarman; 2-6, 6-2, 6-3
Sergiy Stakhovsky def. Frank Dancevic; 6-3, 6-2
The women's action started off with a big surprise as the seventh-seeded Simona Halep was ousted in straight sets by Madison Keys.
Halep came into the tournament with title aspirations and looked to be a formidable contender, but only managed to win five games throughout the two sets. The match only lasted an hour and 11 minutes.
The other big name on the women's end of the bracket survived as Sara Errani validated her No. 3 seed with a convincing 6-4, 6-2 win over Roberta Vinci. The fellow Italians faced off for an exciting match, but Vinci was playing from behind the entire time after a couple of key breaks from Errani.
Three seeded players were in action from the men's side, and each of them made it out with a victory. No. 7 seed Jiri Vesely struggled in his, losing the first set only to rally for two straight and the win.
Elsewhere, fifth-seed Albert Ramos disposed of Wayne Odesnik and Alex Bogomolov Jr. toppled John-Patrick Smith—both in straight sets.