Published: Tue, January 16, 2018
Sports | By Ivan Ross

Bleak day for Americans in Melbourne: Venus, Stephens out

Bleak day for Americans in Melbourne: Venus, Stephens out

Twelve teenagers have won 33 of them, the last being Maria Sharapova at the 2006 US Open and the youngest Martina Hingis, at 16, at the 1997 Australian Open.

As for eighth-seeded Sock, he came up Japan's Yūichi Sugita and came off second best, going down 6-1, 7-6 (7-4), 5-7, 6-3. Stephens was also forced to withdraw from the Brisbane International because of a right knee injury.

"It was my first one, I've tried it for so many years", she said.

"Why do I have to play under a different set of rules?"

Unseeded Aussie and former US Open victor Sam Stosur continued her struggles winning in Melbourne, going out first round 4-6, 7-6 (6), 6-4 to former Olympic gold victor Monica Puig. "I tried to do that today".

The fifth seed and last year's finalist was shocked 6-3, 7-5 in the first round by the world number 78 in just under two hours on Rod Laver Arena.

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"Why should I feel uncomfortable because the court is ill-prepared?"

She said: "I really admire that before the match in the locker room he's so relaxed, being amusing with his team, or even with everyone".

The volatile 17th seed was on his best behaviour, apart from one first-set rant about a heckler in the crowd, letting his racket do the talking as he treated his fans in the Hisense Arena to an impressive opening salvo. "I was a huge underdog", Bencic said.

Prior to their first-round meeting, Bencic had lost four matches against the 37-year-old Williams, failing to win even a set. I started the match very, very well.

The result compounded an already bad day for the American women, with US Open champion Sloane Stephens continuing her losing run. "Just didn't work out". "But I have learned to just not panic".

CiCi Bellis, Sofia Kenin - who lost to No. 12 Julia Goerges, now on a 15-match winning streak - Alison Riske, Taylor Townsend and Jennifer Brady all lost before Nicole Gibbs beat Viktoriya Tomova 6-1, 6-1 to end the streak of eight losses for the USA women.

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Two American hopefuls also failed to make it through to the second round.

Other players orchestrating upsets on Day 1 in Melbourne were Estonia's Kaia Kanepi rolling over No. 24 Dominika Cibulkova 6-2, 6-2, the Ukraine's Marta Kostyuk likewise easing past No. 25 Peng Shuai 6-2, 6-2, and Romania's Irina Camelia-Begu outlasting No. 31 Ekaterina Makarova 3-6, 6-4, 8-6.

In 2013, Bencic won the junior French Open and Wimbledon titles, and was named the ITF World Junior Champion.

A freaky bust-up over a banana has typified a horror start to the Australian Open by the USA women's contingent.

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.

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