Australian Open 2018, Day 1 highlights: CoCo Vandeweghe goes loco over bananas, retro Rafael Nadal turns up
CoCo Vandeweghe and Denis Shapovalov had trouble with bananas on an entertaining Day 1 of the Australian Open. Take a look at some interesting stories from Melbourne.
The Australian Open got off to a whirlwind start, as plenty of seeds fell on Day 1. Top-seed Rafael Nadal and World No 3 Grigor Dimitrov progressed to the second round with easy victories while top American contenders were sent packing after shock defeats in the first round. Take a look at some interesting stories from Melbourne Park:
Ailing American 10th seed CoCo Vandeweghe lost the plot over a lack of bananas as she was dumped out in straight sets in the first round on Monday.
"I'm waiting for the bananas," she told chair umpire Fergus Murphy after the first set when asked why she wasn't ready to play.
"Why should I feel uncomfortable because the court is ill-prepared?"
After nearly a minute, some fruit was brought and Vandeweghe, who said she hadn't practised for four days because of a flu bug, ate it — and was then hit with a code violation for delaying the match.
— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) January 15, 2018
The banana couldn't give her an energy boost as she slumped to a 7-6 (4), 6-2 defeat to Hungary's Timea Babos. Vandeweghe wasn't the only player who had on-court trouble involving bananas. During a changeover in the third set against Stefanos Tsitsipas, Canada's rising star Denis Shapovalov struggled to open several stubborn bananas.
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 15, 2018
When Shapovalov finally managed to get the pesky skin off one of the bananas, he celebrated with a fist pump. As you would!
The American exodus
US Open champion Sloane Stephens was first to go, followed quickly by last year's Australian Open runner-up, Venus Williams.
Vandeweghe went out next as things really started to go crazy for the US women, who eventually lost nine out of 10 first-round matches on a bleak opening day of the Australian Open.
Four months after American women filled all four semi-final spots at the US Open — for the first time in 36 years — three of them are out of contention at the next Grand Slam.
Monday's major letdown for the Americans was compounded when eighth-seeded Jack Sock and No 16 John Isner joined the procession of first-round losers.
CiCi Bellis, Sofia Kenin, Alison Riske, Taylor Townsend and Jennifer Brady all lost before Nicole Gibbs beat Viktoriya Tomova 6-1, 6-1 to end the streak of eight losses for the US women.
Irina Falconi lost 6-1, 6-1 to No 23-seeded Daria Gavrilova in the night match, making it 1 for 9.
Ryan Harrison beat Dudi Sela in a sometimes heated five-setter in front of a partisan crowd and qualifier Mackenzie McDonald also bucked the trend for the Americans.
Rafa goes retro
If Rafael Nadal gave the Australian Open a throwback feel last year with his straight-out-of-the-mid-2000s final against Roger Federer, he's completed the retro effect this year with a return to his sartorial roots — a sleeveless T-shirt.
Matching the muscle-exposing Nike tank top with neon pink shorts, wristbands and headband, Nadal also found his championship form again in a 6-1, 6-1, 6-1 rout of 37-year-old Victor Estrella Burgos in the first round at Melbourne Park.
Nadal's last sleeveless outfit: november 2008. pic.twitter.com/I5CIlmgTof
— José Morgado (@josemorgado) January 8, 2018
The top-ranked Spaniard, who made a splash as a teenager with his trademark sleeveless shirts and knee-length pirate pants, came into this year's Australian Open with questions about his health and readiness to compete following a taxing season that saw him capture two Grand Slams and return to No 1.
Come on The Reds
British hope and Liverpool fan Kyle Edmund channeled some of the energy from his team's 4-3 win over Manchester City at the weekend into his unexpected ousting of 11th seed Kevin Anderson.
He revealed it gave him a boost as he ground out a five-set win.
"Yeah, good result, wasn't it. Beating City," he said. "I spoke to a couple of friends, they sent me a text, saying they were at the game.
"They said it was the best atmosphere it's been at Anfield for a long time, so it was pleasing."
Getting back onto tennis, he added: "What did you say about my chances?"
With inputs from agencies
The singles and doubles seeding lists were announced on Tuesday ahead of the draw ceremony on Friday morning
The three-time Grand Slam champion made it through to the third round at Wimbledon last year despite an injury-disrupted preparation.
Wimbledon 2022: Stefanos Tsitsipas sets up third round clash against Nick Kyrgios; Karolina Pliskova knocked out
Karolina Pliskova, last year's beaten finalist, suffered a shock 3-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-4 defeat to British wildcard Katie Boulter while women's fourth seed Paula Badosa set up a clash against two-time champion Petra Kvitova.