The first round of the first Grand Slam tournament of 2016 is over and for some, their Australian Open dream is gone for at least another year. For others though, it is only just beginning and the excitement is starting to build.
The top four seeds in the men’s singles all came through easily, three of them in straight sets and one thanks to his opponent retiring. Defending champion Novak Djokovic and second seed Andy Murray both beat players tipped as future number one’s in the game, disposing of Hyeon Chung and Alexander Zverev respectively. Roger Federer looked at the top of his game as he made light work of Nikoloz Basilashvili and Stan Wawrinka was cruising at two sets to nil before his opponent called it a day with an injury.
Five of the 32 seeded men saw their Australian Open over after one match, with the highest being fifth seed Rafael Nadal. The Spanish former world number one was beaten in a five set thriller by compatriot Fernando Verdasco and says farewell to his title chances for this year.
The other seeded men out of the tournament are Kevin Anderson (#11) who was forced to retire, Benoit Paire (#17) who was beaten in three tie break sets by Noah Rubin, Fabio Fognini (#20) also losing in a match where every set went to a tie break and Ivo Karlovic (#22) who was 2-0 down before retiring injured.
One of the biggest feel good moments of the first round for Australian fans was home favourite Lleyton Hewitt, the former world number one and 2005 Finalist, making it through to the next round. He beat fellow Australian James Duckworth in straight sets and will now face eighth seed David Ferrer in round two.
In the women’s singles draw, twelve seeds saw their Australian Open dreams shattered in the first round. The highest of these being second seed Simona Halep, who lost 2-0 to world number 133 Shuai Zhang of China. Zhang had qualified for this tournament four times previously and never won a match but she will be celebrating today. The other big name exits included Venus Williams (#8) who was beaten in straight sets by British debutante Johanna Konta and Caroline Wozniacki (#16) who went down in a decider to Yulia Putintseva.
Defending champion and top seed Serena Williams had no such problems, overcoming Camila Giorgi in straight sets to book her place in round two. She will now play world number 90 Su-Wei Hsieh as she attempts to move a step closer to another Australian Open title.
So, after an exciting first round of the Australian Open a total of 17 seeded players are out of their respective singles tournaments but both the men and the women still have the top seeds gunning for glory. Join us after round two for another round up and see how many more of the top players have fallen by the wayside.