by Karen 

There is only one way to describe what took place in the bottom half of the women’s draw on day 1 of the 2015 Australian Open and that word is carnage.  There seemed to be a portent of things to come when Julia Georges who was up against No. 32 seed Belinda Bencic was hitting more backhand winners than forehand winners against Bencic.  In case you did not know, Bencic has one of the purest 2 handed backhand on the women’s tour and it is her go to shot.  Meanwhile, over on Rod Laver Arena, the No. 3 seed, and one of the dark horses to take this title, Simona Halep was struggling against Karin Knapp.  Yes, it was all lining up to be a day of upsets.  Pity, the Spin team did not see that when they made their predictions.
The Spin team’s prediction of Day 1 now looks something like this:
Ana Ivanovic (SRB) [5] vs (Q) Lucie Hradecka (CZE)
WC Storm Sanders (AUS) vs Klara Koukalova (CZE)
Julia Goerges (GER) vs Belinda Bencic (SUI) [32]
Alison Riske (USA) vs WC Oceane Dodin (FRA)
S.Soler-Espinosa (ESP) vs Annika Beck (GER)
Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) vs A.Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) [23]
Sabine Lisicki (GER) [28] vs Kristina Mladenovic (FRA)
Kiki Bertens (NED) vs WC Daria Gavrilova (AUS)
C.Suarez Navarro (ESP) [17] vs Carina Witthoeft (GER)
(Q) Stephanie Foretz (FRA) vs Christina McHale (USA)
Elena Vesnina (RUS) vs Katerina Siniakova (CZE)
Irina-Camelia Begu (ROU) vs Angelique Kerber (GER) [9]
 Lucie Safarova (CZE) [16] vs Yaroslava Shvedova (KAZ)
Ana Konjuh (CRO) vs Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK)
I believe this is the first time in recent memory that so many of the seeded players have been ousted in the first round of a Grand Slam.  It means that there will be many players in the bottom half of this draw who will be ensuring that they get a chance to to reach the second week of a Major. 

2 results that I find completely shocking and I am sure their large fan bases will find unacceptable are the losses suffered by Lucie Safarova and Angelique Kerber.  Safarova, and now Kerber have now made a name for themselves for being labelled Almost.  Safarova first came to my attention years ago when she took out Venus Williams at the 2009 French Open when she lost to Venus Williams, 7-5 in the third set.  On that day she played absolutely amazing tennis and while I was not thrilled with seeing my favourite player battling to reach the third round of a Major, I was very happy that she was able to get the win.  At that time, Lucie was an up and comer with a huge game and a bright future.  In the 5 years since that time, Safarova has managed to distinguish herself more for the matches that she has lost, moreso than for those she has won.  About the only place that she has now distinguished herself is in Fed Cup play.  

Angelique Kerber continues to mystify tennis fans everywhere.  She is a dangerous floater for any top player but I do believe the time has come for us to lower expectations for Kerber.  Perhaps she prefers to fly under the radar, especially since that is how she seems to do her best work.  Her loss against Camelia-Begu after bagelling her in the second set, beggars belief.  One can only hope that she learns from this experience. 
From the first day, I can say that there are some players who are genuine dark horses in this half of the draw. Caroline Garcia played a terrific match to oust Kuznetsova (27) and while some will say that this is not a career changing win, Garcia has not been burning up the win columns since her maiden title run in Bogota last season.  Jarmila Gajdosova has been playing some of the best tennis I have seen her play in a long time, as was Petra Martic who lost to Maria Sharapova in the night match.  It was great to see Martic who has a very beautiful, versatile game, really mixed up her shots and stayed as long as she could with Sharapova.  Here’s hoping that she gets back to full fitness and is able to be a contender once again.


  1. I knew Irina Begu was setting up Angie when she dropped that 2nd set to love. Angie just isn't playing smart tennis. The women are beginning to punish her for not having a serve. She was struggling the entire match. I expected a lil bit better from her in the 3rd set though.

    Kuzi-Rex, well that's an anomaly right there. Garcia played a terrific match but I really thought Kuzi could have taken a set at least or get to a breaker. She basically rolled over for Garcia.

    Safarova was unexpected though I figured that Shvedova would have played well.


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