Venus Williams, Stephens despatched packing at Australian Open



Venus Williams overwhelmed by Swiss Star Belinda Bencic

World quantity 5 Venus Williams and US Open champion Sloane Stephens had been high-profile casualties on day one of many Australian Open Monday, however Roland Garros winner Jelena Ostapenko survived.

Williams, who misplaced within the ultimate to sister Serena final yr, was surprised by Swiss star Belinda Bencic, contemporary from profitable the Hopman Cup with Roger Federer.

The seven-time Grand Slam winner, in her 77th main, struggled towards a participant who had by no means earlier than overwhelmed her to go down 6-Three, 7-5 and deprive the event of certainly one of its largest names.

Chinese star Zhang Shuai sees off US Open champion Sloane Stephens

It is the primary time since 1997 that there might be neither of the Williams sisters within the second spherical, with Serena not enjoying after giving beginning to her first baby.

“I would like to have played someone easier,” stated Bencic.

“When I was a little girl watching on TV I would never imagine I would play them (the Williams).”

Also out of the opening Grand Slam of the yr is American big-hitter CoCo Vandeweghe, a semi-finalist final yr at Melbourne Park and Flushing Meadow.

Stephens’ poor run since profitable at Flushing Meadows in September continued, with the 13th seed crashing out to Chinese quantity two Zhang Shuai, who made the final eight two years in the past.

The annoyed American put in an error-strewn efficiency on an overcast and windy Melbourne day and has not received in seven matches.

“I’m not going to get too down,” stated Stephens after her 2-6, 7-6 (7/2), 6-2 defeat.

“I’m just going to stay positive and keep working to get back in the best shape and best place possible to do well for my next tournaments.”

There was higher luck for Ostapenko, who noticed off Francesca Schiavone 6-1, 6-Four.

The seventh seed raced by the primary set on Rod Laver Arena towards the veteran Italian who was bizarrely sporting a again brace on the surface of her shirt.

She was Four-1 down within the second earlier than knuckling right down to race dwelling and a second spherical conflict with China’s Duan Yingying.

“I knew before the match that it’s not going to be easy. She’s very experienced player and she’s very long time on tour,” stated the Latvian.

“I knew I had to play really aggressive and stay very consistent.”

Also into the following spherical with a straight units win was German 12th seed Julia Goerges, who received the lead-up Auckland Classic and is now on a 15-match unbeaten streak having ended 2017 with victories at Moscow and Zhuhai.

There had been early casualties within the males’s occasion as effectively.

Africa’s solely consultant Kevin Anderson was overwhelmed in 5 units by Kyle Edmund.

American John Isner was additionally dumped out by Mathew Ebden. Similarly, outdated horse David Ferrer was beatebn in 5 units by new era star, Andrey Rublev.