Kvitova, Errani beaten on day one
A review of the non-British women's singles action on day one of the Australian Open in Melbourne.
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Seeds Petra Kvitova and Sara Errani both made first-round exits at the Australian Open on Monday.
Kvitova's exit was by far the biggest shock on a day of upsets on the Margaret Court Arena.
The former Wimbledon champion, seeded sixth, was humbled by Thailand's Luksika Kumkhum, losing 6-2 1-6 6-4 to the little-known world number 87.
Eight double faults in an unforced error count of 40 did not help the erratic Kvitova's cause with the more stable game of Kumkhum proving decisive.
The Czech could offer little explanation, saying: "I really want to know what happened out there. Unfortunately I didn't play well. I didn't play my game that I really tried all off-season to work on.
"It was a great off-season. I was really excited to be here, feeling good. But I think that probably I wanted it too much, and then everything just fell down.''
Earlier, the seventh-seeded Errani was soundly beaten by Julia Goerges, losing 6-3 6-2.
Goerges, the current world number 73 who has slipped down the rankings in recent times, broke Errani's serve twice in each set to cause the upset.
Errani was later followed out of the event by her fellow Italian Roberta Vinci, the 12th seed losing 6-4 6-3 to Zheng Jie, of China.
Another big name to fall on day one was Venus Williams.
Williams, now 33, has never won the title in Melbourne, and won't be doing so this year either. She won the first set against Ekaterina Makarova but her Russian foe hit back for a 2-6 6-4 6-4 win.
The American is, of course, no longer the threat she was, with age and ill health taking their toll, but this was definitely one that got away given she led 3-0 in the decider.
She said: "Obviously losing any match is never any fun, especially in a major. So I definitely would have wanted a different result.
"I think she played really well, and my level was a little bit too up and down.''
Venus will play women's doubles with Serena and once again insisted she has no plans to hang up her racquet.
"The last 12 months I have had issues, but this year I definitely am looking forward to having a good run and feeling well,'' she said, adding: "I love Australia. I'd love to come back.''
Makarova beat Serena in this tournament two years ago and her strong record in Melbourne makes her a dangerous opponent in the top half of the draw.
Later in the day, Serena was in a ruthless mood as she dispatched local teenager Ashleigh Barty for the loss of only three games.
Wild card Barty, 17, was given the toughest of assignments against the world number one and, not surprisingly, could offer little resistance under the lights on Rod Laver Arena.
Williams' 6-2 6-1 victory took only 57 minutes as she eased through to a second-round meeting with Serbia's Vesna Dolonc.
Williams said: "It was a little tricky out there. It's good to get through that match. She could be potentially a dangerous opponent.''
The home fans had earlier been given plenty to cheer with their favourite Sam Stosur making it through in straight sets.
Stosur, a former US Open champion, does not have a great record at her home Grand Slam and has never been beyond the last 16.
She had a slight second-set wobble against Klara Zakopalova, a player who beat her in Hobart only last week, but recovered from a break down to post a 6-3 6-4 win.
There was also an impressive win for Stosur's compatriot, Casey Dellacqua, who defeated former world number two Vera Zvonareva.
Only playing on a wild card, Dellacqua eased to a 6-2 6-2 win over a player who has only just returned to the tour after more then a year out due to injury.
Meanwhile, last year's runner-up Li Na got her title bid off to a flying start.
The Chinese star, seeded four, lost just two games against the reigning Australian Open junior champion, Ana Konjuh.
The Croatian was firmly outclassed during her 6-2 6-0 loss, creating just one break-point chance - which she missed - in the entire match.
Li, who tried to find clips of 16-year-old Konjuh on YouTube so she would know what to expect, said her opponent should nto be too downbeat with much to look forward to in her career.
Li said: "She has a huge serve and very good baseline play.
"I was feeling that if she had more experience, I think she'll be a very good player.''
Another 16-year-old, junior Wimbledon champion Belinda Bencic secured her first victory in the main draw of a grand slam by beating Kimiko Date-Krumm 6-4 4-6 6-3.
It was a real generational battle, with Date-Krumm an astonishing 27 years older than her opponent.
Swiss Bencic is coached by Melanie Molitor, the mother of Martina Hingis, and Hingis was in the stands to see the teenager triumph.
Bencic said: "She gave me some advice and I tried to do it. I was a little bit nervous in the beginning but then I just tried to keep the ball in the court. It was special.''
Ana Ivanovic and Eugenie Bouchard were straight-sets winners but Angelique Kerber, seeded ninth, needed three to see off another Aussie wild card, Jarmila Gajdosova.
One of the lower seeds to fall was Russian Elena Vesnina, who was beaten 6-2 6-2 by USA's Alison Riske.