It was great to see Petra Kvitova start her season with a win in the first round of the 2016 Australian Open, beating Thailand’s Luksika Kumkhum, 6-3 6-1. The 2-time Wimbledon champion from the Czech Republic is very unpredictable. If she loses her next match or wins the tournament, few hardcore tennis aficionados would be surprised. I just think tournaments are more interesting the longer Petra is in the draw. Few players are capable of hitting…or even outhitting…Serena Williams. Kvitova is one of them. But that’s only if she’s on, as she was when she beat Serena last year in Madrid.
On the other hand, I’m bummed about Sloane Stephens crashing out in the first round of the year’s first Major. She came into Melbourne riding a wave of confidence, having won the title in Auckland, New Zealand at the 2016 ASB Classic. That mattered not at all to China’s Qiang WANG, who dismissed the 24th seeded Stephens, 6-3 6-3. I have to be honest, unless Wang goes on a run early this season this is a bad loss for Sloane. Losing to a qualifier in the first round is far below Sloane’s capabilities. Hopefully, she will rebound, understanding that she does have a tournament win already this year. If she does, I’m sure we’ll hear good things to come from the young talented American.
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[Q] QIANG WANG d. 24 Sloane Stephens, 6-3 6-3
6 PETRA KVITOVA d. [Q] Luksika Kumkhum, 6-3 6-1