Kenin gets Hobart win as seeds crash out

Former Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin has made a bright start at the Hobart International, where seeded players Elise Mertens and Alize Cornet crashed out in the first round.

Kenin, whose ranking has fallen to world No.143 three years after her Melbourne Park triumph, notched a 6-2 6-2 win over 85-ranked Lin Zhu on Tuesday.

She'll meet Maryna Zanevska in the second round after the Belgium qualifier upset countrywoman and second seed Mertens 6-4 6-4.

Kenin, herself a winner in Hobart in 2019, has battled injury and poor form in recent seasons and needed a wildcard to gain entry to this year's tournament.

She is coming off a second round result last week in Auckland, where she lost to eventual winner Coco Gauff.

"I feel like I played well out there. It was tough conditions. I'm happy with the way I'm playing, so I'm just going to try and keep it going," she said.

Mertens, a two-time Hobart winner and world No.27, had treatment on her right shoulder midway through the second set against Zanevska.

"My game was a little bit rusty, but it's good to have another match before the Australian Open. I'll try to take the positives with me," she said.

"(I've had the shoulder problem) for a couple of weeks. It's getting better actually.

"I have another week to prepare myself. It's more like a muscle thing, a little bit of inflammation but nothing major."

Third seed and former winner Cornet was the other higher profile name to go down on Tuesday, the 2016 winner beaten 6-4 6-2 by Italian 21-year-old Elisabetta Cocciaretto.

Cocciaretto will next meet countrywoman Jasmine Paolini for a place in the quarter-finals.

The exit of Mertens and Cornet comes after fourth seed Sloane Stephens was eliminated in the first round on Monday.

In other first-round results on Tuesday, sixth seed Bernarda Pera beat fellow American Madison Brengle in straight sets and eighth seed Yulia Putintseva toppled Claire Liu 6-2 6-4.