Photo: Paul ZimmerPetra Kvitova (CZE)
It was an eventful opening day at the 2014 Australian Open but the biggest shock of the day came when world No. 6 Petra Kvitova was felled by No. 88 Luksika Kumkhum.
The diminutive 20-year-old from Thailand, who benefitted from support by the Grand Slam Development Fund earlier in her career, ousted the powerful Czech 62 16 64 much to the astonishment of fans on the Margaret Court Arena.
And it wasn’t just the crowd that was shell-shocked. Kvitova herself said: “I really want to know what happened out there. Unfortunately I didn't play well. I didn't play my game, what I really tried all off‑season to work on. It was great off‑season. I was really excited to be here, feeling good. But I think that probably I wanted too much, and then everything just fell down.”
Kvitova wasn’t the only seed to make a first-round departure. The Czech was joined by No. 7 Sara Errani, after the Italian was defeated 63 62 by Julia Goerges, while Roberta Vinci also lost to Zheng Jie 64 63.
Normal order was resumed in the night match on Rod Laver Arena as world No. 1 Serena Williams made light work of 17-year-old Aussie Ashleigh Barty with a 62 61 victory in just 57 minutes.
The hosts had better news, though, with Sam Stosur avenging her loss to Klara Zakopalova and Casey Dellacqua overcoming the returning Vera Zvonareva.
On the men’s side, world No. 2 Novak Djokovic earned his 22nd consecutive victory at Melbourne Park with a 63 76(2) 61 win against Lukas Lacko.
The Serbian was watched for the first time in an official match by new coach Boris Becker and he is pleased with the relationship the two have so far managed to acheive.
“I did not expect ourselves to understand each other so well right away in the second or third week that we are working with each other,” explained Djokovic.
“So it all goes in the right direction. Hopefully we can go far in this tournament. But it's a long year, obviously. Yes, this tournament right now is our priority and our focus, you know, to do well here. Then we hope to maintain that consistency with a success and good cooperation throughout the whole year.”
The biggest upset in the men’s draw occurred when Tommy Haas, seeded No. 12, was forced to retire in his match against Spain’s Guillermo Garcia-Lopez due to a shoulder injury.
The remainder of the seeds progressed unscathed, although there were frights for both Kevin Anderson and Jerzy Janowicz against Jiri Vesely and wildcard Jordan Thompson respectively.
Stanislas Wawrinka, seeded No. 8, won his opening round match against Andrey Golubev 64 4-1 ret. (calf injury). The victory ensures the Swiss is on course to meet Djokovic in the quarterfinals for what would be a re-match of the epic encounter between the two players at Melbourne Park last year.
The ITF produces men’s match notes at the Australian Open. The latest notes can be seen by clicking here.