Australian Open: Venus Williams stunned in first round

Australian Open: Venus Williams stunned in first round

In 2017, Williams was the only WTA player to reach two Grand Slam finals.

Williams, who lost to her sister Serena in last year's final, was beaten 6-3, 7-5 by Belinda Bencic of Switzerland.

So, was this the first big upset of the tournament? She took it on her second attempt after Venus dumped a backhand into the net. But this is a classic case of statistics distorting reality.

Williams was among four American women to lose early on the opening day of the tournament.

On her third break point, the Swiss player placed the pressure back on Williams and defeated the tournament's former runner-up for the first time. Neither did her world ranking (No. 78). If I do months without playing an official match, it's always a little bit more hard. Previous year she was 57th. "I know how hard I'm working ... coming to Australia I'm ready for every match, every player".

"Last year is last year".

Melbourne: A ruthless Rafael Nadal preserved his creaky knees for tougher tests down the road by routing Dominican journeyman Victor Estrella Burgos 6-1, 6-1, 6-1 to sail into the second round of the Australian Open on Monday. How long ago was that?

The 16th seed, playing in his 100th Grand Slam match, bowed out 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 in just over two hours on Margaret Court Arena. 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".

Also bundled out in the women's draw are Ekaterina Makarova, who was World No. 8 in 2015 and Francesca Schiavone, the 2010 French Open champion.

After Williams' loss - by far the most shocking result of the first round - everyone was left wondering what happened. Now 36, he's favourite to win again.

Of the nine Americans dumped out of the women's draw, arguably the least surprising was the defeat of US Open champion Stephens, who has still not won since her victory at Flushing Meadows.

Bencic, 20, saved five break points in the eighth game before a rain delay caused an nearly half-hour suspension of play as the roof was closed on Rod Laver Arena. The young ones were barely born when the older women first started playing the Open, which was last century for Venus.

"It's incredible, when I was a little girl, I was watching them on TV".

"It's a new situation for me".

Nadal, who faces the Dominican Republic's Victor Estrella Burgos in a night match on Rod Laver Arena, lost an epic Australian Open final a year ago to Roger Federer, who gets his campaign underway on Tuesday.

The man Nadal lost to in last year's gripping men's finale, Federer, begins his quest for a 20th major Tuesday against Slovenia's Aljaz Bedene. I'm just happy to be on the court.

And just like that, following a press session she wanted no part of, Williams - in perhaps her most nimble move of the day - was gone.

So, what's better - youth or experience? I already won the grand slam. Nine 30-somethings have won 24 of the majors, with Serena accounting for 10 of those, three of which have been since she took the record from Martina Navratilova, who was 33 and 263 days when she won the last of her nine Wimbledons and 18 titles in 1990. Winning against them often now, losing sometimes, but still being just about there winning those matches also.

In many contexts it is considered impolite to focus on a lady's age but in elite sport it is always an inescapable and crucial element, a truism that was not challenged on Monday.

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