The first day of the tournament itself witnessed the shock of Venus Williams exit from the earliest round of the event. Stephens was also forced to withdraw from the Brisbane International because of a right knee injury.
"I didn't play so bad, I wasn't missing every shot".
Schiavone has never really been a star - she is best known for denying Australia's Sam Stosur the French Open in 2010 and, perhaps by way of revenge by the Australian tennis gods, this was her fifth successive failure to win a match in Melbourne - but Williams, of course, brings much more to the table in terms of reputation and accomplishment as well as a perennial popularity so it is never a matter for celebration when she is made to look ordinary. "I tried my best".
She yelled an obscenity late in the second set, and then got a time violation for waiting too long for a banana to be brought to the court between sets, earning a point penalty. I don't have to make myself uncomfortable because it's ill-prepared. It was a low-key response that sidestepped her 28 unforced errors to just 12 by her Swiss opponent.
Vandeweghe was leading in her first set before the rain delay on Hisense Arena, but sickness and irritation caught up with her.
"Yes we were talking about it in the locker room and some of them were ribbing me that I had to carry the flag for us", Gibbs said.
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Venus Williams was beaten by Belinda Bencic, a 20-year-old former top-10 pro who is recovering. But it was in 2015 that she really announced her arrival on the big stage, by winning her first title at Eastbourne, and following it up with a huge victory at the Rogers Cup, where - unseeded - she beat Caroline Wozniacki, Ana Ivanovic, Serena Williams, and Simona Halep.
Stephens hasn't won a tour-level match since her Grand Slam breakthrough triumph at the U.S. Open past year, a losing streak of eight matches.
And Bencic had support from the whole Federer family here, with the defending champion offering his advice before the match and congratulating her afterwards while his parents were courtside in Bencic's player box. I started the match very, very well. "It just didn't work out", Venus said. Don't worry. We will get back to having fun soon.
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.
Other seeded players falling included No. 24 Dominika Cibulkova, the 2014 Australian Open finalist who lost to Kaia Kanepi, No. 25 Peng Shuai and No. 31 Ekaterina Makarova.
The 26-year-old entered this year's competition with a career-high ranking, but her Australian Open dream soon turned into a nightmare during an ill-tempered and contentious 7-6 (7-4), 6-2 loss to Hungary's Timea Babos.