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Australian Open 2018: Women's Day 1 review

182   //    16 Jan 2018, 14:19 IST

2018 Australian Open - Day 1
Belinda Bencic (left) stunned Venus Williams

This year's Australian Open is wide open on the ladies' side after defending champion Serena Williams withdrew from the event and in her absence from the tour last year, no one was able to stamp their authority as we saw five different players become World No. 1 last year.

The largest upset of Day 1 was No. 5 seed and last year's finalist Venus Williams, getting knocked out in straight sets by Swiss World No. 78 Belinda Bencic 3-6 5-7. Venus was broken five times and had more unforced errors than her opponent. Her loss meant that this was the third time in 20 years that one of the Williams sisters was not in the second round at a Grand Slam.

There were two other major upsets as US Open champion and 13th seed Sloan Stephens crashed out in three sets to S. Zhang, 6-2 6-7(2) 2-6. Tenth seed and US Open semifinalist Coco Vandeweghe was also upset 6-7(4) 2-6 by Timea Babos. All in all, it was a bad day for the Americans.

Caroline Wozniacki, the second seed, made short work of Mihaela Buzarnescu 6-2 6-3. Wozniacki, a two-time World No 1, will be looking for her first Grand Slam success. The number four seed Elina Svitolina, number seven seed Jelena Ostapenko and number 12 seed Julia Gorges, advanced to Round 2 with easy straight-set victories while 15th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova took three sets.

Joining them in Round 2 were Magdalena Rybarikova and Carla Suarez Navarro. Veteran Sam Stosur was knocked out in three sets by Monica Puig.

In action on Day 2 will be top-seeded Simona Halep, along with third seed Garbine Muguruza, 11th seed Kristina Mladenovic and 14th seed Anastasija Sevastova. Joining them will be Kristyna Pliskova, Agnieszka Radwanska, Petra Kvitova, and US Open finalist, Madison Keys. All eyes will be on Maria Sharapova as she makes her return to the Australia Open after serving her doping ban.

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