AO 1.5 - Of Sisters and Sam
In the last hours of Monday, two more seeds fell as #22 Andrea Petkovic (to Evgeniya Kulichkova) and #25 Samantha Stosur (to Kristyna Pliskova) lost to push the number of seeds already out to seven, already just four off the record-tying number of eleven who were knocked out one year ago in Melbourne.
While an early Stosur exit in Australia isn't big news, she usually wins at least ONE match. This is just her second 1st Round loss since 2005, and it came on the big stage under the lights on Rod Laver (really, they should have known not to schedule her there). Qualifier Pliskova nearly flubbed her chance, showing all her Czech-ness by throwing in a pair of DF while trying to serve out the match at 6-4/5-4. Eventually, Stosur held two SP before Pliskova pushed things to a TB. There, on her 3rd MP, Pliskova fired a lefty ace to put Stosur away. So, again, she flashed all her "Czech glory"... only this time it was the good stuff.
All right, Karolina. Your move.
There might be two Pliskovas in the 2nd Round, but there won't be two Radwanskas. There SHOULD have been, though. Ula led Ana Konjuh 6-0/3-0, and at 4-4 had a BP for a shot to serve out the match. She failed to convert, then the Croat teenager grabbed the horns of the match and won eight of the next eleven games to win 0-6/6-4/6-3.
Genie Bouchard kept up her early '16 momentum with a win over Aleksandra Krunic. So, one of the recent AO North American semifinalists is still in the draw (Sloane is out, while Keys has yet to play), while The Bracelet is not. Tribute.
A few other spare notes:
* - no Australia-born woman won on Day 1. Only Russian-born Aussie Gavrilova did.
* - Speaking of Russians, Hordettes went 5-2 on Day 1, including big NextGen wins by Kasatkina (#27 AK.Schmiedlova), Kulichkova (#22 Petkovic) and Gasparyan (#17 Errani). And that's not even counting Moscow-born Putintseva/KAZ (#16 Wozniacki), or Gavrilova.
* - Maria Sharapova's win over Nao Hibino gives her 598 in her career
All for Day 1.5 -- more tomorrow.