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Rediff.com  » Sports » Australian Open: Stosur melts as other seeds handle the heat

Australian Open: Stosur melts as other seeds handle the heat

Last updated on: January 17, 2012 19:48 IST

Australian Open: Stosur melts as other seeds handle the heat

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Local favourite and sixth seed Sam Stosur became the highest ranked player to crash out of the Australian Open first round on Tuesday while men's fourth seed Andy Murray was pushed by Ryan Harrison before he overcame the American teenager in four sets.

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Petra Kvitova, Maria Sharapova and Novak Djokovic, however, had all ensured they spent as little time as possible in the heat with lopsided victories as temperatures in Melbourne soared for the second successive day.

Monday's opening day experienced temperatures around 33 degrees Celsius and while it rose a touch higher on Tuesday, cooler conditions are expected for the rest of the week.


Photographs: Getty Images

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I did everything I could: Stosur

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US Open champion Stosur, however, was unable to withstand the pressure cooker environment on Rod Laver Arena in front of local fans holding heightened expectations as she crashed to a 7-6, 6-3 loss to Romania's Sorana Cirstea.

"I really, really wanted to do well here and over the (Australian) summer," Stosur said.

"I did everything I could to try and give myself a good opportunity.

"It obviously didn't happen (and) it's not through lack of trying or not wanting it or anything like that. I mean, you can't pick the times that you want to play well.

"That's sport."


Photographs: Getty Images

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Murray brings cheer to his fans

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Murray was also in danger of following Stosur after he lost the first set to Harrison, before he rallied to win their three hour, 12 minute encounter 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2.

The 24-year-old Murray also caused some concerns for his large fan base on Hisense Arena when he clutched at his right hamstring in the second set, while he also seemed to jar his right ankle in the final set shortly before he sealed victory.


Photographs: Getty Images

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Kvitova cruises through

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Earlier, World No. 2 Kvitova, who beat Sharapova last year at Wimbledon to claim her first grand slam title, was unruffled by the hot conditions in a ruthlessly efficient 6-2, 6-0 victory over Vera Dushevina taking a tick over one hour.

Kim Clijsters and Martion Bartoli recorded 6-0, 6-0 victories over Dinara Safina and Italy's Tathiana Garbin respectively last year at Melbourne Park.


Photographs: Getty Images

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Merciless Sharapova in control

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Fourth seed Sharapova, however, was as merciless on the second show court on Hisense Arena, beating Argentina's Gisela Dulko 6-0, 6-1 in 58 minutes.

Sharapova had looked like inflicting the third 'double bagel' (6-0, 6-0 win) of the tournament in two years before Dulko broke her serve in the third game of the second set, to a massive cheer and sustained applause.

Sharapova, however, was only temporarily stalled in her advance and while Dulko held three break points when the Russian was serving for the match, the three-times grand slam tournament champion swatted them away and marched into the second round.


Photographs: Getty Images

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Djokovic begins his title defence in style

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Djokovic's victory in Melbourne last year sparked a remarkable 12 months in which he won three grand slam titles and compiled a 70-6 record as he finally overhauled Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer as the best player in men's tennis.

The Serb began his title defence in style at the year's first grand slam tournament with an emphatic 6-2, 6-0, 6-0 victory over Italian journeyman Paolo Lorenzi.

He had stumbled early with a break to trail 2-1 but rattled off 17 successive games to seal the match in 92 minutes.

"It took me a couple games to get into the right rhythm," Djokovic said. "You know, it's a bit difficult conditions.

"I think it was really the hottest day since I've arrived here, so trying to get used to that. But I think I played well after the first set was finished."


Photographs: Getty Images

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Ferrer moves into second round

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Fifth seed David Ferrer, a beaten semi-finalist last year and champion in Auckland last week, also spent as little time in the blazing sunshine as possible.

The Spaniard took just one hour 44 minutes to blitz Portugal's Rui Machado 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 and progress to the second round.


Photographs: Getty Images

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Serena looks rusty on Melbourne Park return

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A rusty and agitated Serena Williams returned to Melbourne Park after a two-year break with a scratchy 6-3, 6-2 win over Austria's Tamira Paszek on Tuesday.

Williams, unable to defend her 2009 and 2010 titles last year due to a freak foot injury, entered Rod Laver Arena with only two matches under her belt in five months.

The lack of match practice showed for much of the 79-minute contest against the feisty Wimbledon quarter-finalist.

The win was the 13-times grand slam champion's 15th in a row at the year's first grand slam. She faces Czech Barbora Zahlavova Strycova in the second round.


Photographs: Getty Images

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