Australian Open: Milos Raonic, Gael Monfils advance; Samantha Stosur crashes out | tennis | Hindustan Times
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Australian Open: Milos Raonic, Gael Monfils advance; Samantha Stosur crashes out

Milos Raonic, Gael Monfils and Johanna Konta registered victories in the first round of the Australian Open, but Samantha Stosur’s long Australian drought was extended with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-0 loss to Heather Watson, making it back-to-back first-round defeats at her home Grand Slam tournament.

tennis Updated: Jan 17, 2017 17:37 IST
AP
Milos Raonic, Gael Monfils and Johanna Konta registered victories in the first round of the Australian Open, but Samantha Stosur was defeated by Heather Watson.
Milos Raonic, Gael Monfils and Johanna Konta registered victories in the first round of the Australian Open, but Samantha Stosur was defeated by Heather Watson.(AFP)

Milos Raonic and Dustin Brown renewed their Grand Slam duel at the Australian Open on Tuesday and the result was the same as the last time — a three-set win for the tall Canadian.

Milos Raonic and Dustin Brown met for the first time in the first round of last year’s U.S. Open, where Raonic won in straight sets. On Tuesday, Raonic defeated Brown 6-3, 6-4, 6-2.

Last year as the 13th-seeded player, Raonic had his best performance at Melbourne Park, advancing to the semifinals before losing to Andy Murray. The 26-year-old Raonic is playing in his seventh Australian Open and in his 24th major. His best result so far has been a run to the Wimbledon final last year.

France's Gael Monfils plays a forehand return to Jiri Vesely of the Czech Republic during their first round match at the Australian Open tennis championships. (AP)

Gael Monfils has advanced to the second round of the Australian Open, his 40th Grand Slam tournament.

Monfils, who beat Jiri Vesely 6-2, 6-3, 6-2, lost in the quarterfinals here last year, the first time he had advanced that far in his 11th tournament appearances.

The acrobatic Frenchman reached the semifinals at the last U.S. Open and finished in the year-end top 10 for the first time. He entered the Australian Open as the No. 6 seed.

The pair had never met on hard courts, with Vesely beating Monfils in five sets in the second round at Wimbledon in 2014 before Monfils beat him on clay at Monte Carlo last year in straight sets.

Samantha Stosur’s long Australian drought has been extended with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-0 loss to Heather Watson, making it back-to-back first-round defeats at her home Grand Slam tournament.The 32-year-old Australian entered the tournament on an eight-match losing streak stretching back to the first round of the U.S. Open last September.

Samantha Stosur won the 2011 U.S. Open, a surprising winner over Serena Williams in the final, and has reached the French Open final. Her best run at home, though, remains fourth-round exits in 2006 and ‘10.

She lost last year to Kristyna Pliskova, who was ranked No. 114. Watson, ranked 81st, has lost in the first round in four of her previous five trips to the Australian Open.

Johanna Konta has won her opening match at Melbourne Park, beating Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium 7-5, 6-2 to open play Tuesday at Margaret Court Arena.

Samantha Stosur of Australia hits a return against Heather Watson of Britain in their women's singles match on day two of the Australian Open tennis tournament. (AFP)

Konta was a surprise semifinalist at last year’s Australian Open, kick-starting a strong 2016 season which saw her break into the top 10 by the end of last year.

The British player won last week’s Sydney International, dominating No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska in straight sets in the final.

Karolina Pliskova has backed up her strong performance at last year’s U.S. Open with a first-round win at Melbourne Park, beating Sara Sorribes Tormo 6-2, 6-0 to open play Tuesday at Rod Laver Arena.

The fifth-seeded Pliskova, who beat Serena Williams in the semifinals at Flushing Meadows last year before losing the U.S. Open final to Angelique Kerber, took a 4-1 first-set lead in under 20 minutes.

Pliskova has never advanced past the third round at Melbourne Park, losing each of the last two years at that stage to Ekaterina Makarova.