Fifth-seeded Ivanovic out in Australia
MELBOURNE, Australia — Fifth-seeded Ana Ivanovic struggled with her serve and lost in three sets to Czech qualifier Lucie Hradecka in first big upset of the Australian Open.
The former No. 1-ranked Ivanovic, a finalist at the 2008 Australian Open, breezed through the first set in 21 minutes with three service breaks on Monday before No. 142-ranked Hradecka rallied to win their first-round match 1-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Ivanovic, who had a tour-leading 58 match wins in 2014 and started this season by reaching the final at the Brisbane International, had 10 double-faults and made 30 unforced errors and slumped to her earliest exit in a major since 2011.
"The whole match I didn't really feel like myself out there," Ivanovic said. "It's probably the worst thing could happen. But still, the year is young and I really have to now sit and work on few things and just maybe try to have a different approach to this kind of event and try to see what was lacking."
For Hradecka, it made amends for a missed opportunity in her only previous meeting with Ivanovic, when she wasted a match point before losing in the first round at Wimbledon in 2009.
"I was so nervous in the beginning, same at the end," said Hradeck, who has never advanced past the second round at a major. "My hand was so shaky."
Three other seeded players were eliminated in early first-round matches in the women's draw, while No. 3 Simone Halep advanced with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Karin Knapp of Italy.
Caroline Garcia beat No. 27 and two-time major winner Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-4, 6-2, Kristina Mladenovic beat No. 28 Sabine Lisicki 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 and Julia Goerges routed No. 32 Belinda Bencic 6-2, 6-1.
Two-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray beat Indian qualifier Yuki Bhambri 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (3), beginning his quest for an elusive Australian Open title.
Murray, who won the 2012 U.S. Open and 2013 Wimbledon, has lost three finals at Melbourne Park.
No. 10 Grigor Dimitrov opened with a 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 win over Dustin Brown 6-2, 6-3, 6-2, No. 29 Jeremy Chardy beat Borna Coric 3-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-4 and No. 32 Martin Klizan had a 7-6 (6), 6-2, 6-4 win over Tatsuma Ito of Japan.