Australian Open 20185: Venus Williams, Sloane Stephens crash out in 1st round

Lynette Rowe
January 16, 2018

As for Williams, it is a bad start to 2018 for the 37-year-old, who also reached the Wimbledon final and US Open semi-final in 2017. She saved five break points in the eighth game of the first set, before a rain delay caused play to be suspended. After receiving a first-round bye last week at Sydney, she fell to eventual champion Angelique Kerber of Germany in three sets.

Bencic further gave a brief insight about how Federer conducts himself around his team and the tactics, alongside maintaining both physical and mental stability to compete among the elites, which makes him one of the greatest of all time.

Unfortunately, thereafter, her career was plagued with injuries.

Bencic, 20, broke Williams' serve in the final game of the match, winning the last four points. Expressing her joy post defeating a Williams sister, she said, "When I was a little girl watching on TV I would never imagine I would play them". So, stand by to hear more about her.

Prior to her freefall in the rankings, Bencic had climbed to number 10 in the world.

Bencic began the current season securing the Hopman Cup alongside Roger Federer for Switzerland and continued in the same form in the first Grand Slam event of the calendar year.

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.

But all that changed at Rod Laver Arena as the outsider pulled off a huge surprise. 'Last year is last year. Now 36, he's favourite to win again.

After the first round win, Bencic now aims to continue her surge as the tournament progresses Down Under.

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Bencic, who lost to Serena in the first round a year ago, was jubilant in victory on Rod Laver Arena, after most didn't give her a chance when the draw came out. The young ones were barely born when the older women first started playing the Open, which was last century for Venus. "I don't think I played a bad match", she said.

"Even though I lost, I'm not too sad", Stephens said.

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. It's really tough to play her. "Just give me a little bit to regroup and we will be okay".

So, what's better - youth or experience? I already won the grand slam.

Older women have been less successful.

German 12th seed Julia Goerges continued a winning streak going back to last October, defeating Sofia Kenin of the USA, 6-4, 6-4.

Among Indians, Yuki Bhambri struggled to rein in his unforced errors and played well only in patches as his third Australian Open appearance ended with a straight-set first-round defeat at the hands of a seasoned Marcos Baghdatis.

RON REED has spent more than 50 years as a sportswriter or sports editor, mainly at The Herald and Herald Sun.

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