Australian Open: Williams shocked by Bencic, Stephens, Vandeweghe also out
Three female American seeds have fallen at the first hurdle on the opening day of the Australian Open.
2017 finalist Venus Williams was beaten 3-6 5-7 by world number 78 Belinda Bencic.
Williams was broken twice in the opening set before the pair traded breaks in the opening four games of the second.
At 5-6, Williams serving to stay in the match, Bencic came from 30-0 to secure an unlikely victory.
Earlier in the evening, 13th seed Sloane Stephens was beaten by China’s Shuai Zhang 6-2 6-7 2-6.
The American looked like she might ease through to the second round after a solid first set but a second set tie-break loss levelled the match.
Zhang broke twice in the decider and held serve to claim victory.
The horror start to USA’s Australian Open continued as 10th seed Coco Vandeweghe lost out to world number 51 Timea Babos 6-7 2-6.
The Hungarian saved six break points in the second set, breaking her opponent twice to complete the win.
World number 113 Nicole Gibbs was the sole American out of 10 in action to progress, beating Viktoriya Tomova 6-1 6-1.
Elsewhere, there were no such shocks for second seed Caroline Wozniacki, who beat Romanian Mihaela Buzarnescu 6-2 6-2, or fourth seed Elina Svitolina, who overcame qualifier Ivana Jorovic 6-3 6-2.