Sport Tennis Australian Open It’s a bloodbath: Kyrgios, Gavrilova, Stosur, Kokkinakis among local hopes to exit

It’s a bloodbath: Kyrgios, Gavrilova, Stosur, Kokkinakis among local hopes to exit

Australia's Nick Kyrgios had no answer to Milos Raonic's power serving on Tuesday. Photo: Getty
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If day one of the 2019 Australian Open was a red letter day for local players, day two was anything but.

Ashleigh Barty sung the praises of the depth in Australian tennis – particularly from a women’s perspective – after eight locals won on the tournament’s first day, but just two (wildcards Alex Bolt and Alexei Popyrin) triumphed on Tuesday as a host of big names were sent packing.

Included among them were Nick Kyrgios, Daria Gavrilova and Samantha Stosur, while Thanasi Kokkinakis succumbed to yet another injury.

Kyrgios battled away against 16th seed but was beaten inside two hours by Milos Raonic, the big-serving Canadian winning 6-4 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 on Melbourne Arena on Tuesday evening.

Raonic hit 30 aces, 53 winners and eight unforced errors in a performance so complete Kyrgios did not even have a break point.

As usual, Kyrgios combined flashes of brilliance with flashes of petulance, his frustration added to by a troubling knee problem.

He refused to blame that in a typically tetchy post-match press conference, though, telling reporters: “I don’t think that was at all the reason I lost today. He played unbelievable.

“Never seen serving like that in my life … every time I returned, he served and volleyed.

“He volleyed unbelievable … he was way too good for me tonight.”

Daria Gavrilova had a day to forget against Slovenia’s Tamara Zidansek. Photo: Getty

World No.78 Tamara Zidansek surprised Gavrilova, winning 7-5 6-3 in one hour and 44 minutes.

“There was a lot, like, happening in my head … I was just probably overthinking things and just, yeah, not being confident at all,” Gavrilova told reporters.

Stosur, who lost in the first round at Melbourne Park for the fourth year in a row, was beaten by an 18-year-old playing in just her second grand slam.

Speaking after Ukraine’s Dayana Yastremska beat her 7-5 6-2, Stosur said: “Obviously it’s still disappointing to go out but I actually don’t feel like I played a bad match today.”

Kokkinakis, who won through qualifying in promising fashion, took a one-set lead against Japan’s Taro Daniel.

But his pectoral problem was playing up and he served at an average of just 137 km/h in the opener.

That dropped to 121 km/h in the second and made playing on too difficult, forcing the 22-year-old to retire after just 92 minutes.

The good news

Alex Bolt advanced with an impressive win over Jack Sock. Photo: Getty

World No.155 Alex Bolt claimed an upset win over American Jack Sock, coming from a set down to win 4-6 6-3 6-2 6-2, while fellow wildcard Alexei Popyrin progressed in straight sets.

The 19-year-old – a French Open junior champion – hit 60 winners in an eyecatching 7-5 7-6 (9-7) 6-4 success against Germany’s Mischa Zverev.

Other Australians involved in day two did not experience the same joy as Ajla Tomljanovic lost in a third-set tiebreak and Destanee Aiava was beaten on Rod Laver Arena by 17th seed Madison Keys.

And elsewhere …

Serena Williams started her bid for a 24th grand slam singles title with a 6-0 6-2 trouncing of German Tatjana Maria in just 49 minutes.

The woman who beat Williams in last year’s tumultuous US Open decider, Naomi Osaka, also won in straight sets, while top seed Simona Halep needed three to get past Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi.

Novak Djokovic is the short-priced favourite to win a seventh Australian Open title and he was relatively comfortable in a 6-3 6-2 6-2 success against American qualifier Mitchell Krueger.

Kamil Majchrzak nearly completed one of the upsets of the tournament, leading two sets to love against eighth seed Kei Nishikori, but the Polish qualifier was forced to retire in the fifth and final set.

And seventh seed Dominic Thiem survived a scare, eventually toppling Frenchman Benoit Paire in a five-set epic that finished after 2am (AEDT).

Thiem looked like he would win in comfortable fashion at one stage but was forced to scrap for a 6-4 6-3 5-7 1-6 6-3 win in a clash that lasted three hours and 42 minutes.

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