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Thursday, July 10, 2014
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Published: Monday, 1/13/2014

Makarova bounces Venus Williams during opening-round victory

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Ninth seed Angelique Kerber won her first-round match over Jarmila Gajdosova on Monday. Ninth seed Angelique Kerber won her first-round match over Jarmila Gajdosova on Monday.
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MELBOURNE — Venus Williams lost in the first round at the Australian Open for only the second time, with her serve and concentration letting her down when it counted most in a 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 defeat to Ekaterina Makarova on Monday.

The seven-time Grand Slam winner breezed through the first set against the No. 22-seeded Makarova, who had an upset win over Serena Williams in the fourth round at the 2012 Australian Open.

She had chances in the second, missing a breakpoint opportunity to go up 4-2, and then serving three consecutive double-faults after leading the ninth game 40-30 to surrender a crucial break.

Williams led 3-0 in the third set but Makarova rallied strongly to advance. Williams was playing the Australian Open for the 14th time and the highlight remains a run to the final in 2003.

No. 18-seeded Kirsten Flipkens, a Wimbledon semifinalist last year, was the first woman to advance when she beat Britain's Laura Robson 6-3, 6-0. In another fast-finishing first-rounder, Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic had a 6-0, 6-1 win over French wildcard Pauline Parmentier.

Flipkens made only four unforced errors against 32 for Robson, who was ranked 48th and knocked out 2011 Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in reaching the third round at last year's Australian Open.

Stanislas Wawrinka was the first man through to the second round, advancing after just 15 games when Andrey Golubev retired with an injured left leg.

The No. 8-seeded Wawrinka, who lost 12-10 in the fifth set to eventual champion Novak Djokovic in the fourth round last year in the longest Grand Slam match of 2013, was leading 6-4, 6-1 when his Kazakhstan rival quit. Golubev took a medical timeout and had his lower left leg taped when he was down 5-2 in the first.

Wawrinka won the Chennai Open in India and is one of the big threats on the bottom half of the draw that includes Djokovic and No. 3 David Ferrer. Wawrinka was only on court for 65 minutes and played 91 points, a lucky break at the start of the week where temperatures are expected to be steamy.



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