Saturday, 24 August 2019 07:53 GMT
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Bencic sends Venus packing on bleak day for Americans




(MENAFN - Gulf Times) Venus Williams led a slew of seeds out of the Australian Open in a dark day for American players yesterday.
Williams, who lost in the final to sister Serena last year, was stunned by Swiss star Belinda Bencic, fresh from winning the Hopman Cup with Roger Federer.
The seven-time Grand Slam winner, in her 77th major, struggled against a player who had never before beaten her to go down 6-3, 7-5 and deprive the tournament of one of its biggest names.
It is the first time since 1997 that there will be neither of the Williams sisters in the second round, with Serena not playing after giving birth to her first child.
'I don't think I played a bad match. She just played above and beyond, said 37-year-old Williams, seeded five.
Bencic, 20, said featuring with Federer at the Hopman Cup had helped a lot, with the Swiss legend giving her advice and tips.
'I think all the week it was so great learning from him on the court or off the court, she said, adding she spoke to him briefly after her match and he 'was very happy for me.
Second seeded Caroline Wozniacki also comfortably progressed with a straight sets win over Romanian Mihaela Buzarnescu as she searches for a maiden Grand Slam crown.
Also out of the opening Grand Slam of the year is American big-hitter Coco Vandeweghe, the 10th seed and a semi-finalist last year.
And the US misery was compounded on the men's side with eighth seed Jack Sock toppled by Japan's Yuichi Sugita and 16th-seed John Isner sent home by Australian Matthew Ebden.
Other seeded casualties included South Africa's 2017 US Open finalist Kevin Anderson, who was bundled out a in a five-set thriller by Britain's Kyle Edmund. Third seed Grigor Dimitrov survived, as did volatile Australian Nick Kyrgios, who collected a code violation for swearing at the crowd.

Learning curve
Seven-time Grand Slam winner Williams, in her 77th major, struggled against a player who had never before beaten her to go down 6-3, 7-5 and deprive the tournament of one of its biggest names.
It is the first time since 1997 that there will be neither of the Williams sisters in the second round, with Serena not playing after giving birth to her first child.
'I don't think I played a bad match. She just played above and beyond, said the 37-year-old.
Bencic, 20, said featuring with Federer at the Hopman Cup had helped a lot, with the Swiss legend giving her advice and tips.
'I think all the week it was so great learning from him on the court or off the court, she said, adding she spoke to him briefly after her match and he 'was very happy for me.
Vandeweghe slumped out to Hungary's Timea Babos 7-6 (7/4), 6-2 and revealed afterwards she had been bedridden with flu for four days.
With Stephens also departing, to China's Zhang Shuai, it was a calamitous day for the United States, in stark contrast to the last Grand Slam of 2017, when all three of them made the semis at the US Open.
It left the women's draw more unpredicable than ever, which was good news for French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko, who saw off Francesca Schiavone 6-1, 6-4.
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.
'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, said the Latvian.
Fourth seeded Ukrainian Elina Svitolina, who won the lead-up Brisbane International after picking up five WTA Tour titles last year, was another to stay in the hunt.
Also into the next round was German 12th seed Julia Goerges, who won the lead-up Auckland Classic and is now on a 15-match unbeaten streak having ended 2017 with victories at Moscow and Zhuhai.

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Bencic sends Venus packing on bleak day for Americans

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