Ivanovic topples out of Aussie Open

Melbourne, Australia (SportsNetwork.com) – Czech Lucie Hradecka sent
shockwaves on the first day of the Australian Open by ousting fifth seed Ana
Ivanovic, 1-6, 6-3, 6-2, at Rod Laver Arena.

The Serb Ivanovic, who was the runner-up to Maria Sharapova in 2008, suffered
her earliest exit at a Grand Slam event since the French Open in 2011. She was
a quarterfinalist here last year.

“I think the whole match I didn’t really feel like myself out there,” Ivanovic
stated. “It was really tough for me to find a rhythm a little bit. In the
third set, I really felt like she raised her level.”

Hradecka, playing her first Grand Slam main draw since last year’s Australian
Open, lost in qualifying at other three majors in 2014. The doubles specialist
entered the week ranked 142nd in singles play. She has 18 doubles titles, but
none in singles.

It’s the earliest exit by a top 5 seed since 2003 when then No. 3 Jennifer
Capriati was ousted by Marlene Weingartner.

Romanian Simona Halep, the No. 3 seed, topped Italian Karin Knapp, 6-3, 6-2.
It’s a fresh start for Halep, who began the 2015 season with her ninth career
title at Shenzhen, but then withdrew from an event in Sydney due to illness.

In other seeded action Monday, No. 21 Peng Shuai of China, beat Germany’s
Tatjana Maria, 6-4, 7-5; 22nd seeded Czech Karolina Pliskova defeated Evgeniya
Rodina, 7-5, 6-1; France’s Caroline Garcia upset No. 27 seed Svetlana
Kuznetsova of Russia, 6-4, 6-2; France’s Kristina Mladenovic toppled No. 28
seed Sabine Lisicki of Germany, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2; and Germany’s Julia Goerges
upended 32nd seed Belinda Bencic of Switzerland, 6-2, 6-1.

Li Na, who has since retired from the WTA, beat Dominika Cibulkova in last
year’s final at Melbourne Park. Victoria Azarenka had won the previous two