Round of Upsets at Australian Open as 6 of Top 10 Women’s Seeds Lose


“As I said two million times before, it’s very open,” Pliskova said. “I think it just depends on the mood that day, and of course the lower-ranked players are always going to try to play the best tennis — which they do. They have nothing to lose.”

Sixth-seeded Belinda Bencic took the hardest loss of all the high-ranked players, drubbed 6-0, 6-1 by the 28th-seeded Anett Kontaveit in just 49 minutes. Kontaveit, an aggressive Estonian, began the match playing nearly untouchable tennis, hitting 15 winners and just two unforced errors as she swept the first nine games of the match and left Bencic helpless.

“I was also thinking about this after the match: Is it worse to lose 7-6 in the third or 6-0, 6-1?” Bencic said. “I’m not sure. It’s like you never had a chance to win the match, kind of. When you lose 7-6 it’s a little bit more — how you say — bitter, because you had a chance.”

In the night session, fifth-seeded Elina Svitolina was routed 6-1, 6-2 by unseeded Garbiñe Muguruza, against whom she was 6-2 previously.

Muguruza, a two-time Grand Slam winner ranked 32nd after a two-year slump, narrowly missed being seeded, but began her tournament inauspiciously, struggling with an illness and losing the first set of her opening round 6-0 to Shelby Rogers before rallying for an 0-6, 6-1, 6-0 victory.

“Even if you’re not feeling great, there’s always a chance there,” Muguruza said on Saturday. “You just have to find your way. I’m pleased with my fighting spirit and accepting many situations that are not on your side sometimes.”

The six losses left only top-seeded Ash Barty, fourth-seeded Simona Halep, seventh-seeded Petra Kvitova, and ninth-seeded Kiki Bertens standing as the tournament moves into its second week.

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