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Australian Open 2014 Day 1: Kvitova the major casualty

Thailand's Luksika Kumkhum
by Alexandra Willis at Melbourne Park
Monday 13 January 2014

Wimbledon.com's highlights from the first day of play at the 2014 Australian Open at Melbourne Park

The upset
On song in Perth and Sydney, Petra Kvitova came to Melbourne expecting to stay a little longer than last year, when she was bundled out in the second round by Laura Robson. But she reckoned without Luksika Kumkhum, the world No.88, who produced the performance of her life to beat the former Wimbledon champion, 6-2, 1-6, 6-4. Bowing to all four corners of Margaret Court Arena, she was as stunned as Kvitova was.

A double-hander on both sides, who cites Thai legend Tamarine Tanasugarn and Monica Seles as her idols, Kumkhum uttered the word happy in almost every sentence after the win, filled with more relief than anything that she hadn't squandered her big opportunity. 

Kvitova, on the other hand, looked utterly lost. 

“I think that probably I wanted too much, and then everything just fell down,” Kvitova said.

Other seeds to crumble were: Sara Errani was bundled out by Julia Goerges, Roberta Vinci lost to Zheng Jie, Tommy Haas retired, Elena Vesnina lost to Alison Riske.

Casey Dellacqua also pulled off a 6-2, 6-2 win over the returning Vera Zvonareva in what was the only real surprise of the morning.

Big wins

Jerzy Janowicz d. Jordan Thompson
Thought by many to be one of the true threats for greatness on the tour, Wimbledon semi-finalist Jerzy Janowicz looked anything but as he fell two sets to love down to 19-year-old Australian wild card Jordan Thompson. But the Pole, moving from forwards cap to backwards cap to no cap, got into gear eventually, surviving in five.

Madison Keys d. Patricia Mayr-Achleitner
The American teen, who shot to prominence at this event last year, eventually converted her sixth match point to take down veteran Australian Mayr-Achleitner, 9-7 in the third. Huge.

Meanwhile Matthew Ebden successfully avoided losing from two sets to love up for the third year in a row in Melbourne, surviving a five-setter against Nicolas Mahut.

Long way home for
Laura Robson and Heather Watson. The two bright Brits suffered first round defeats in the sme Grand Slam for the first time in a little while, Robson outplayed by Kirsten Flipkens, and Watson out-battled by Daniela Hantuchova. Onwards. 

Cruising through
The following players all won their first round matches in straight sets: Leonardo Mayer, Jeremy Chardy, Fabio Fognini, Genie Bouchard, Richard Gasquet, Ana Ivanovic, Tomas Berdych, Annika Beck, Virginia Razzano, David Ferrer, Lucie Hradecka, Flavia Pennetta, Florian Mayer, Damir Dzumhur, Ivan Dodig, Alla Kudryavtseva, Mikhail Youzhny, Monica Puig, Irina Falconi, Stanislas Wawrinka, Mona Barthel, Zheng Jie, Sam Stosur, Vasek Pospisil, Sabine Lisicki, Pablo Andujar, Monica Niculescu, Alexandr Dolgopolov, Yanina Wickmayer, Dmitry Tursunov, Lauren Davis, Novak Djokovic, Denis Istomin.

Marathon matches

Kevin Anderson d. Jiri Vesely 2-6, 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 in 3 hrs 49mins

Nikolay Davydenko d. Lukasz Kubot 3-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 in 3hrs 39mins

Jarkko Nieminen d. Dudi Sela 3-6, 7-6(3), 6-7(3), 6-3, 6-3 in 3hrs 38mins

Tommy Robredo d. Lukas Rosol 6-1, 6-7(7), 3-6, 7-6(5), 8-6 in 3hrs 32 mins

Bagels
7. Special mention to Annika Beck, who double-bageled Petra Martic.

Retirements
3 (Alex Bogomolov Jr, Tommy Haas and Andrey Golubev)

Lucky lucky loser
Irina Falconi, who lost to Heather Watson in final round qualifying, but was handed a lucky loser spot when Jamie Hampton withdrew. Falconi made the most of it, beating Anabel Medina Garrigues to reach the second round. Watson meanwhile lost in the first round.

The wait is over...
For the first glimpse of Roger Federer with Stefan Edberg.  

The wait continues...
For a Chinese man to win a main draw Grand Slam match. Wu Di fought his heart out, but couldn't ruffle Kenny De Schepper, the Frenchman winning 7-5, 7-5, 7-6(2).

Will Venus be back in Australia?
It looked to be going very well when Venus Williams led dangermouse Ekaterina Makarova by a set in their first round match. But Makarova, who upset Serena here two years ago, came streaking back, sending Venus down and out. Could it be her last Australian Open?

Everyone's talking about...
Belinda Bencic. The 16-year-old Swiss, girls' champion in singles and doubles at Wimbledon last year, is very much one to watch. Coached by her father and also Melanie Molitor, Martina Hingis's mother, she won her first main draw Grand Slam match, having come through qualifying, with a three-set win over Kimiko Date-Krumm. Next up is Li Na. 

Everyone's also talking about...
The heat. Australian Open officials have been preparing for temperatures above 40 degrees from Tuesday, which is likely to see the "extreme heat policy" come into play. It is based on the Wet Bulb Global Temperature reading, or WBGT, which combines temperature with humidity and wind speed.

"Tennis by and large is a low-risk sport and that's why, by and large, like cricket, we can play in these conditions and not be too concerned," said tournament chief medical officer Tim Wood. "They sit down every five to 10 minutes for every 90 seconds at change of ends, so there is the chance to lose some heat at that time."

To read...
Q: When you say go home, do you mean back to London to play in Europe probably in the next sort of month?

Laura Robson:  Definitely London.  I don't know what other home I have.

To watch...
Final preparations.
 

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For all the reports and results from Melbourne Park, visit the Official Australian Open website


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