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The Australian Open, the year’s first grand slam Tennis tournament began in Melbourne yesterday. World number five and 2017 runner-up Venus Williams and her fellow American Sloane Stephens made shocking first round exits. 

While Venus, the two-time finalist, was stunned by Swiss Belinda Bencic, 3-6, 5-7, Stephens, the world number 13, lost to China's Shuai Zhang, 6-2, 6-7, 2-6.

India's Yuki Bhamri, the only Indian in the Men's Singles, crashed out in the opening round after losing to Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus. South Africa's 11th seed Kevin Anderson, and 16th placed American John Isner also bowed out. World number one and 2017 runner-up, Rafael Nadal began his campaign with an easy first round victory.

Besides Nadal, the men's draw features defending champion Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka while the women’s draw is wide open, with just two former champions in action. It also features Maria Sharapova, Simona Halep, Petra Kvitova, and Karolina Pliskova.


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