Venus Williams crashes out in the first round of the Australian Open

Bencic during the Hopman Cup in Perth

Venus Williams was knocked out of the Australian Open on Monday, one of seven American women eliminated on opening day. After receiving a first-round bye last week at Sydney, she fell to eventual champion Angelique Kerber of Germany in three sets.

Although Williams fared better in the second, the in-form Swiss hitter outworked the American and sealed the victory 7-5, after breaking serve in the final game.

It was her eighth successive defeat since her maiden grand slam triumph. "For the first matches, I think I had a little bit too much respect, played a little bit careful and safe", Bencic said. This time I really tried to come out and hit it big.

Venus and Schiavone head a list of 19 players aged in their 30s in this year's draw, while there were just a handful teenagers. "I used to watch Serena and Venus on TV when I was little girl, never dreaming I would play them one day and now I am, it's wonderful".

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She added: "I think all the week [at the Hopman Cup] it was so great learning from him on the court or off the court".

"Tennis is definitely a roller coaster", said the 13th-seeded Stephens, who was broken while serving for the match in the second set.

A freakish bust-up over a banana has typified a horror start to the Australian Open by the United States women's contingent.

Bencic, 20, broke Williams' serve in the final game of the match, winning the last four points. "There was really nothing I could do", Stephens said.

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In her first match at Rod Laver Arena since losing last year's final to her sister, Serena, Venus Williams lost her opener to Belinda Bencic 6-3, 7-5 and ensured the title won't stay in the family. The 13th-seed and defending US Open champion Sloane Stephens joined the "bad luck club" falling 2-6, 7-6 (2) 6-2 to China's Zhang Shuai. "But I have learned to just not panic".

Unseeded Aussie and former US Open victor Sam Stosur continued her struggles winning in Melbourne, going out first round 4-6, 7-6 (6), 6-4 to former Olympic gold victor Monica Puig. I don't have to make myself uncomfortable because [the tournament is] ill prepared.

Top-ranked Rafael Nadal and No. 3 Grigor Dimitrov opened with routine wins, as did second-seeded Caroline Wozniacki and No. 4 Elina Svitolina on the women's side. She ended last season without a title. Well, the Open era began in 1968, half a century ago, which means there have been 200 Grand Slam tournaments. "It just didn't work out", Venus said. "It's nice that it's going, but I'm just focusing from one round to the other and trying to put my performance there and trying to improve with every match I'm playing".

Catherine Bellis lost 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 6-2 to Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens and Alison Riske went down 2-6 7-6 (8-6) 6-3 to Belgian Kirsten Flipkens.

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