Horror start to Open for American women

by Leon Thompson January 16, 2018, 0:47
Horror start to Open for American women

Williams lost last year's final at Melbourne Park to younger sibling Serena, who clinched an Open era-record 23rd major but hasn't played a Grand Slam tournament since because of her pregnancy and the birth of her first child.

Runner-up to sister Serena in last year's final, Venus won't be keeping the trophy in the family after falling 6-3 7-5 in a first-round boilover on Monday.

Just a year ago, Williams reached the finals of the Australian Open before losing to her little sister, Serena.

It was also a matter of felling a seven-times grand slam-winning idol, having never won a set against her in four previous matches.

"I don't think I played a bad match", Williams said, one eye on the door as she spoke so low almost every reporter in the room was forced to lean forward in attempts to hear her. "I think for me now it's not that great, but it's nothing to panic about, guys".

Sixteen-time Grand Slam champion Nadal insists he is feeling fine despite struggling with a knee injury and ready to go deep at an event that he has only won once - in 2009 - among his string of major triumphs.

Zhang Shuai was her latest conqueror with a 2-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-2 victory, but Stephens was not too downhearted and is confident her form will return.

"I didn't play so bad, I wasn't missing every shot". She struck first to get ahead at 4-3 after pouncing on a brief letdown by Venus that gave her looks at a few second serves. Bencic and Williams shake hands after Bencic won their match.

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She then had to hold off an immediate fightback from the veteran American, saving five break points in an attritional game before a passing rain shower caused a 20-minute delay as the roof on Rod Laver Arena was closed.

The Swiss continued to press, however, breaking once more to clinch the set and pegging Williams back twice at the start of the second. Ostapenko is the first big name through to the second round. And though she served for the match at 5-4 in the second set on Monday, she was unable to close it out.

"Then on court, he's so focused. But, yeah, I don't really follow too much, to be honest".

"I lost to Venus four times and I tried my best to give my all today, and changed some things tactically". I don't have to make myself uncomfortable because it's ill-prepared. For both players, it was a draw that neither would have liked as the Swiss was hoping for a nice draw to allow her to climb her way back up the ranks while Venus was looking for something more straightforward in the opening round.

"I felt like (Babos) was being quite in-your-face about her 'Come ons.' So it was more just explaining it to the umpire", Vandeweghe said. Federer's parents were in the 20-year-old's player box at Rod Laver Arena.

US Open champion Sloane Stephens takes on China's Zhang Shuai while American big-hitter CoCo Vandeweghe, a semi-finalist a year ago at Melbourne Park and Flushing Meadow, opens her account against Hungary's Timea Babos.

Additional seeded winners were No. 12 Julia Goerges, No. 15 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova who came from a set down to defeat the Ukraine's Kateryna Kozlova 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, No. 19 Magdalena Rybarikova, No. 22 Darya Kasatkina, No. 23 Daria Gavrilova, No. 30 Kiki Bertens who came from a set down to defeat American Catherine Bellis 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-2, and No. 32 Anett Kontaveit.

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