The top seeds sailed into the second round at the Australian Open early this week, but there were still some big names who fell in the first two days of action, including several notable Americans who will go home early from the year’s first Grand Slam.
Both No. 11 seed Sofia Kenin and No. 18 Coco Gauff lost matches on the first day of play, with men’s No. 22 seed John Isner following on Tuesday.
Gauff learns lessons from Australian Open loss
Gauff’s loss was perhaps the most surprising defeat in the first round. The young star dropped her opening match 6-4, 6-2 to China’s Wang Qiang, whom Gauff had beat in their two previous meetings, both of which came on clay last year.
“I think just everything disappointed me about today,” Gauff said after the loss. “I think I was playing a little bit tighter than normal. So I think next time coming into the first round of a slam, especially after a tough week before, I think I need to just play more free and focus on the moment.”
Kenin won the Australian Open in 2020, but fellow American Madison Keys used her big serve to knock out the former champion 7-6 (7-2), 7-5 in their first-round match. Keys is playing well this month, winning the Adelaide International 2 last week.
“I feel I’ve really found my rhythm with [my serve], it really helped me close out the first and second set in big moments,” Keys said afterward. “I’m going to make sure it’s ready for the second round.”
Isner also lost to a fellow American, dropping a five-set battle to Maxime Cressy. Isner saved three match points late in the fourth set, but ultimately fell in the fifth, with Cressy winning 7-6 (7-2), 7-5, 6-7 (7-4), 6-7 (7-4), 6-4.
Murray scores memorable win in Melbourne
The most notable win of the first round came from a five-time Australian Open finalist. Andy Murray recorded his first win in the tournament since 2017 when he beat Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-1, 3-6, 6-4, 6-7 (7-5), 6-4 to advance.
“It is amazing,” Murray said of his comeback win. “This is where I thought I had potentially played my last match three years ago. It is great to be back. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”
Wednesday’s action at the Australian Open features some of the top seeds, all of whom are expected to advance easily.
Women’s No. 1 seed Ashleigh Barty (-3500) will take on Italian qualifier Lucia Bronzetti (+2100) at Rod Laver Arena. Rafael Nadal (-3500) also gets a qualifier in the form of Yannick Hanfmann (+1800). On the other hand, No. 3 seed Alexander Zverev (-3000) could get a slightly tougher test from Australian John Millman (+1500), who has reached the third round of the Australian Open twice in his career.