Australian Open: Belinda Bencic upsets Venus Williams in straight sets

Australian Open first round preview Venus Williams vs Belinda Bencic

Bencic would earn her first-ever win over Venus, defeating her 6-3, 7-5, as she sent last year's finalist packing.

Sugita is ranked outside the world's top 40 but did earn his maiden ATP Tour title win past year, shortly before his 29th birthday.

It means for the first time since 1997 there will be no Williams sister in the second round at Melbourne Park after Serena pulled out following the birth of her daughter. After already saving five break points at 4-3, Bencic returned from an nearly 30-minute suspension to win six consecutive points and the first set. 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. "She just played above and beyond", said 37-year-old Williams, seeded five.

The turning point in the match came late in the first set when play was stopped to allow for the roof to be closed because of rain at Melbourne Park.

"Honestly, the first reaction of everyone was 'Oh, bad luck, '" Bencic said. For the first matches, I think I had a little bit too much respect, played a little bit careful and safe.

"In women's tennis, I think we see it: Anything can happen when there is no Serena Williams", Babos said in her post-match interview.

"Of course it would be nice to play someone easier first round; get your rhythm".

US Open champion Sloane Stephens takes on China's Zhang Shuai while American big-hitter CoCo Vandeweghe, a semi-finalist previous year at Melbourne Park and Flushing Meadow, opens her account against Hungary's Timea Babos.

Third seed Grigor Dimitrov survived, breezing into the second round, as did 10th seeded Spaniard Pablo Carreno-Busta.

Venus was looking much more aggressive in the second set, earning herself two more break point chances.

The 20-year-old Swiss girl, who had lost to Venus's sister Serena last year, said she was prepared for another tough match.

It must have helped, having overcome the surprise when the draw was made that she'd have to play another Williams in the first round. The young Swiss tennis star has reached the fourth round of play before at the Australian Open. On one of the worst days for American tennis in recent years at a Grand Slam tournament, Venus Williams, Sloane Stephens, Coco Vandeweghe, Jack Sock and John Isner were among the 12 who fell at the first hurdle.

"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. "I lost to Venus four times and I tried my best to give my all today, and changed some things tactically", Belinda who is now running high on 16 tour matches winning streak gushed. I won a Grand Slam.

Shuai, the world number 34, lost the first set 6-2 but recovered impressively to win the second on a tie-break to level the match. Williams was beaten 6-3, 7-5 by Switzerland's Belinda Bencic, while Vandeweghe lost a bad-tempered contest against Hungary's Timea Babos 7-6, 6-2.

U.S. Open finalist and No. 11-seeded Kevin Anderson lost in five sets to Kyle Edmund. Djokovic, seeded 14, also starts on Tuesday, as do former world number one Maria Sharapova and top seed Simona Halep.

'We had a great week last weekend at the Hopman Cup with Roger so it was not pressure at all, I just felt support'.

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