The Australian Open's 6th seed, Samantha Stosur, was defeated 7-5. 6-3 Tuesday in the first round of play, by Sorana Cirstea. Cirstea exploited Stosur's obviously flustered state, and consistently dictated play as the top Australian player made repeated unforced errors. Stosur went out in the opening rounds in both Brisbane and Sydney, causing some observers to guess that she would not get very far in Melbourne. It's unlikely, though, that even they thought she wouldn't get past the opening round. Cirstea, however, is not a player anyone especially wants to see on the other side of the net in a first round, and she has now advanced to the second, in which Urszula Radwanska will get a look at her.
Australia's number 2 player, Jarmila Gajdosova, was also defeated in straight sets. Maria Kirilenko beat Gajdosova 6-4, 6-2, and the Australian proceeded to have a bit of a meltdown in her press conference. Australian Anastasia Rodionova is out, too, but Casey Dellacqua and Jelena Dokic have both advanced to the second round.
19th seed Flavia Pennetta, alas, is also out of the picture. Pennetta was defeated on the first day of play by Nina Bratchikova. Also gone are 24th seed Lucie Safarova, 28th seed Yanina Wickmayer, Irina-Camelia Begu, and perennial crowd favorite, Kimiko Date-Krumm.
Petra Kvitova and Maria Sharapova each played their first round matches very efficiently, losing a total of three games between them. It wasn't so easy for Vera Zvonareva, though, who had to go against the tough, but inconsistent, Alexandra Dulgheru. Zvonareva won the first set in a tiebreak, and Dulgheru won the second set in a tiebreak. At that point, they had played for 2 hours and 17 minutes. Dulgheru called for a medical time-out in the third set in order to get her feet treated, presumably for blisters. She faltered after that, then came back to life, only to be broken and lose the set 3-6.
The match lasted 3 hours and 15 minutes; I was just an observer, and I was exhausted at the end. The pair made 119 unforced errors and hit 62 winners.
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