Before the scheduled Monday’s launch of her EleVen collection for the Australian Open even happened, last year’s runner-up Venus Williams was eliminated by Belinda Bencic 6-3 7-5 on Day 1 of the tournament. The American didn’t take the loss lightly and barely communicated at the post-match press conference, even though she did admit that Bencic deserved all the credit for playing “above and beyond”.
Wearing a tank and skort from the long-awaited Aztec line, which was not made available last Monday due to technical difficulties, the fifth-seeded Williams didn’t play a bad match on Rod Laver Arena, but the world No.78 Bencic, not intimidated by the grandeur of her opponent, took the initiative and outplayed the seven-time Grand Slam champion in the number of aces, points won on first and second serves and winners-to-unforced-errors differential.
The 20-year-old Bencic, who was a Top 10 player two years ago, is now on an 16-match winning streak, which includes three titles (in Hua Hin, Taipei and Dubai).
Venus’ loss is the biggest, although not that surprising, news of the Australian Open’s first day, while other notable results include US Open champion Sloane Stephen’s defeat by Zhang Shuai, Coco Vandeweghe’s exit at the hands of Timea Babos, Dominika Cibulkova’s fall to Kaia Kanepi, and Jelena Ostapenko’s first match win this season, as the Latvian, playing her third tournament in 2018, was better than her fellow French Open champion Francesca Schiavone.