Monday January 19th, 2015

MELBOURNE -- Ana Ivanovic's Grand Slam woes continued on Day 1 of the Australian Open. The No. 5 seed was the first big casualty at Melbourne Park after she suffered a 1-6, 6-3, 6-2 loss to No. 142 Lucie Hradecka in the first round on Monday. With the loss, Ivanovic has made the quarterfinal stage of a major just twice in her last 27 Slam appearances. She became the first top-5 player to lose in the first round of the Australian Open since Jennifer Capriati lost to Marlene Weingartner in 2003.

Ivanovic arrived at the tournament full of confidence after making the final of the Brisbane International a week ago, but it was Hradecka who looked more relaxed and experienced. The Czech veteran spent last week winning three matches at Melbourne Park to qualify for the main draw and her familiarity with the conditions showed. Ivanovic pocketed the first set easily, but quickly fell behind 0-3 in the second set.

The turning point came in the seventh game of the set after Ivanovic fought to tie 3-3. Hradecka nearly blew an easy service hold at 40-0, saving a break point in a game that eventually went to three deuces. She held serve and lost just two games for the rest of the match. 

Behind solid baseline hitting, Hradecka kept Ivanovic on defense through the final set, finishing with 27 winners to 35 unforced errors. Ivanovic's forehand and serve failed her. She hit 10 double-faults for the match to go along with 19 winners and 30 unforced errors. 

An emotional Ivanovic said she felt "lost" on the court, stricken by a combination of nerves and lack of practice. She picked up a minor back injury in Brisbane and was unable to practice as hard as she wanted in the week leading up to the tournament. Regardless, she gave full credit to Hradecka, who kept the pressure on her in the final set. 

"It's really disappointing. You know, it's probably the worst thing could happen. But still, the year is young and I really have to now sit and work on few things and just maybe try to have a different approach to this kind of event and try to see what was lacking."

Ivanovic wasn't the only seed to tumble out early on the women's side of the bracket. No. 28 Sabine Lisicki lost to Kristina Mladenovic 4-6, 6-4, 6-2, No. 32 Belinda Bencic took a quick loss to Julia Goerges 6-2, 6-1, and No. 27 Svetlana Kuznetsova lost 6-4, 6-2 to Caroline Garcia.

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