Venus Williams crashes out in the first round of the Australian Open

Williams beat Bencic at the US Open in 2015 the last time they played

Venus Williams was a high-profile first-round casualty at the Australian Open on Monday but the seven-time grand slam champion was happy with her performance as she heaped praise on Belinda Bencic.

After reaching the finals of the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the Women's Tennis Association's year-end championship, as well as the semi-finals of the US Open, previous year the senior sister lost her only match at the Sydney tournament last week, to the accomplished Angelique Kerber, and was equally swiftly ejected on day one of the Open by the less well-known Swiss miss Belinda Bencic in straight sets, 6-3 7-5.

Sloane Stephens' woes since her winning her first Grand Slam title at the U.S. Open continued Monday with a first-round loss at the Australian Open.

"It's unbelievable, when I was a little girl, I was watching them on TV". "I don't think I would be near that when I'm 37". "Why should I feel uncomfortable because the court is ill-prepared?"

The seventh seed raced through the first set on Rod Laver Arena against the veteran Italian who was bizarrely wearing a back brace on the outside of her shirt, before a tougher second set. "For the first matches, I think I had a little bit too much respect, played a little bit careful and safe", Bencic said. "It's a long road and long season ahead", she said.

Venus battled to keep touch in an enthralling second set but the clean hitting and younger legs of Bencic carried away the match in the 12th game.

"It was a hard five months", she said. By the rankings, it was an upset, but by no means, this was an upset for Bencic, who was a former top-10 player as a teenager. With AP Photos.Venus Williams and Sloane Stephens were upset early and the bleak opening day for Americans continued at the Australian Open on Monday with the women going 0 for 8 by mid-afternoon and the two highest-ranked USA men joining them as first-round casualties.

That was the prelude to a one-sided third set won 6-2 by Shuai, who eventually cruised home in one hour and 58 minutes.

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Roger Federer's family were conspicuous supporters in the stands as the men's defending champion's Hopman Cup-winning team-mate set up a second-round date with either Swede Johanna Larsson or Thai qualifier Luksika Kumkhum. After already saving five break points at 4-3, Bencic returned from an nearly 30-minute suspension to win six consecutive points to take the first set.

"Then on court, he's so focused". That's the most important thing for me now. "Just give me a little bit to regroup and we will be okay". "I think that makes him pretty special".

The 29-year-old German ended the year with tournament wins at Moscow and Zhuhai, then began 2018 with a win over Caroline Wozniacki in the final of the ASB Classic at Auckland, New Zealand.

Also sent packing on the first day were the Americans - World No. 9, Coco Vandeweghe, and 2017 US Open victor, Sloane Stephens.

It was Isner's first defeat to Ebden in four meetings and follows the shock exits of Americans Venus Williams, U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens and last year's semifinalist CoCo Vandeweghe in the women's draw.

She revealed she had been bedridden with flu for four days after slumping to Hungary's Timea Babos 7-6 (7/4), 6-2.

"I really enjoy to play on all centre courts, especially when there is a lot of people watching and supporting me, I really love that feeling", Ostapenko told reporters.

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