Monday, 28 May, 2018

Venus, other Americans take bath on Day 1 in Australia

Australian Open first round preview Venus Williams vs Belinda Bencic Awesome Bencic stuns Venus
Edward Snyder | 16 January, 2018, 01:30

The Australian Open 2017 runner-up and 5th-seed, Venus Williams, was dispatched by Swiss Belinda Bencic in the first round of the 2018 staging of the tournament.

No 5 seed Williams lost 6-3 7-5 to in-form Belinda Bencic and was one of THREE semi-finalist from the women's singles of the last Grand Slam, in NY, to go out in the opening session. Stephens was also forced to withdraw from the Brisbane International because of a right knee injury.

The first day of the first Grand Slam of the year has seen some top players fall.

"I started to miss more in the second set but I found my game. I tried to do that today". "I think that makes him pretty special". Sloane Stephens, the U.S. Open champion, lost her eighth consecutive match, this time to Zhang Shuai 2-6, 7-6 (2), 6-2. It was a low-key response that sidestepped her 28 unforced errors to just 12 by her Swiss opponent. When they returned under the roof on Rod Laver Arena, she hit a rhythm instantly, and won six points in a row to take the first set.

"Tennis is definitely a roller coaster", Stephens said.

In her first match at Rod Laver Arena since a vintage run in 2017 ended in a championship loss to sister Serena, Venus Williams lost her opener to Belinda Bencic 6-3, 7-5 to ensure the title won't stay in the family. After receiving a first-round bye last week at Sydney, she fell to eventual champion Angelique Kerber of Germany in three sets.




Vandeweghe, a semi-finalist here and at the US Open past year, was handed two code violations during her defeat, the first of them after an argument with the umpire over a lack of bananas on court.

"I don't think I played a bad match", she said."She just played above and beyond". It's impossible', said Venus, who is committed to play Acapulco in one month and a half next. "But I have learned to just not panic". As for the banana, she added: "I was just trying to wait for what I asked for to come and the chair umpire deemed that it wasn't a good enough reason to wait for anything". However, she was handed a defeat by sister Serena Williams who took the match by 6-4, 6-4.

After a day like this one, most American tennis fans will be hoping Serena Williams returns as soon as possible to save the day.

Pre-tournament favourites Caroline Wozniacki and Elina Svitolina both stormed to comprehensive first-round victories against Mihaela Buzarnescu and Ivana Jorovic respectively.

The 26-year-old entered this year's competition with a career-high ranking, but her Australian Open dream soon turned into a nightmare during an ill-tempered and contentious 7-6 (7-4), 6-2 loss to Hungary's Timea Babos.

Other seeded players falling included No. 24 Dominika Cibulkova, the 2014 Australian Open finalist, No. 25 Peng Shuai and No. 31 Ekaterina Makarova.

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