Fifth seed Ivanovic bundled out by Hradecka

Sun Jan 18, 2015 11:55pm EST
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By Greg Stutchbury

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Fifth ranked Ana Ivanovic led a parade of women's seeds knocked out of the Australian Open first round on Monday after the Serb was upset by doubles specialist Lucie Hradecka 1-6 6-3 6-2.

Former French Open champion Ivanovic joined double grand slam winner Sveltana Kuznetsova (27th), Swiss teen Belinda Bencic (32nd) and Sabine Lisicki (28th) as seeded casualties in early first round action.

Ivanovic, a former Australian Open finalist, had roared through the first set in 21 minutes on Rod Laver Arena and looked set to follow third seed Simona Halep into the second round after the Romanian's 6-3 6-2 win over Italy's Karen Knapp in the first game on the showcourt.

However, Hradecka, who played only three WTA level events in 2014, raced through the next two sets in just over an hour to send the Serb packing and set up a second-round encounter with Slovenia's Polona Hercog or China's Wang Qiang.

"I played okay in the beginning. Just I felt second and third set I really dropped my level," said Ivanovic, whose only other first round exit at Melbourne Park was to Ekaterina Makarova in 2011.

"It was really tough for me to find rhythm a little bit.

"It's really disappointing. It's probably the worst thing (that) 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."   Continued...

Ana Ivanovic of Serbia hits a return to Lucie Hradecka of Czech Republic during their women's singles first round match at the Australian Open 2015 tennis tournament in Melbourne January 19, 2015. REUTERS/Issei Kato