For Samantha Stosur, this was Groundhog Day.
The times might be changing for tennis in this country, shown by the fact five Aussies won singles matches on the opening day of the 2018 Australian Open, but for Stosur, it was more of the same.
More of the same Melbourne Park disappointment.
The 33-year-old was a set and a break up against Olympic champion Monica Puig, and held a match point in the second-set tiebreak, before falling 4-6 7-6 (8-6) 6-4 on Margaret Court Arena.
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Stosur has now been eliminated in the first round of her home grand slam three years in a row and the bigger picture barely makes for better reading.
Despite reaching four grand slam semi-finals, and winning the 2011 US Open, Stosur has never made it past the fourth round in Melbourne.
When asked by The New Daily if she could put her finger on her form at the tournament, Stosur responded: “I just struggle on these hard courts a bit.
“I’m not going to say it’s one particular thing, but if I could play on an American hard court with different balls, then I’d probably be a lot happier here.
“It’s not the same thing over and over again. I think it’s a bunch of different things put together.”
It was impossible not to feel for Stosur in an honestly revealing press conference in which she said she did not feel “ashamed” and explained why she had “courage” and “kind” written on her wristband.
“[It inspires me] just to have courage to be doing what I should be doing out there, not beat myself [up] too much, try to be a bit kind to myself … the things I’ve been working on kind of throughout my game – not the forehands and backhand side of things,” she said.
Stosur’s home record was the elephant in the room during her match against Puig, who even apologised afterwards for beating her opponent.
It was a nice touch from the Puerto Rican, who held her nerve when it mattered to edge what was a tense but sadly predictable encounter.
Kyrgios warned in victory
While Stosur lost, many of her compatriots won in impressive fashion, with Nick Kyrgios cruising to a 6-1 6-2 6-4 win over Rogerio Dutra Silva.
The 21-year-old momentarily lost his cool, yelling “shut the f––k up” to members of the crowd making noise as he served, but it was a minor blip in a win that took just 87 minutes and included 16 aces.
“I thought it was a pretty good performance,” Kyrgios, who admitted to feeling nervous, told reporters.
“I’d like to get on and off the court as quick as possible … save my body for the later rounds.”
Kyrgios will face Serbian veteran Viktor Troicki in round two.
Daria Gavrilova also won easily on Monday evening, needing just 64 minutes to beat Irina Falconi 6-1 6-1.
Earlier on Monday, Matthew Ebden claimed the biggest scalp of his career, stunning 16th seed John Isner 6-4 3-6 6-3 6-3, while John Millman thumped highly rated youngster Borna Coric in straight sets.
Wildcard Alex Bolt could have joined them on the winners’ list, only to throw away a two-set lead against Troicki, while 10th seed Pablo Carreno Busta needed four sets to see off Jason Kubler.
Olivia Rogowska edged Jaimee Fourlis in three sets in an all-Australian clash.
Nadal imperious in fast win
Elsewhere, top seed Rafael Nadal dropped just three games in a one-sided triumph over Victor Estrella Burgos and world No.3 Grigor Dimitrov also coasted to victory.
But the upsets came thick and fast in the women’s singles, with fifth seed Venus Williams, 10th seed Coco Vandeweghe and 13th seed Sloane Stephens all surprise day-one losers.