Australian Open: Bouchard off to strong start in stellar first round

MELBOURNE, Australia — Eugenie Bouchard’s quest to match her stellar 2014 record in Grand Slam tournaments started on a positive note she beat Anna-Lena Friedsam of Germany 6-2, 6-4 Monday in the first round of the Australian Open.

Bouchard, who advanced to the semifinals at three majors last year and lost in the Wimbledon final, broke Friedsam’s serve in the ninth game of the second set and held serve in the next to clinch the match when the German player hit a forehand wide.

At the All England Club last year, Bouchard became the first Canadian, male or female, to reach a Grand Slam final.

Eight of the seeded players in the women’s draw tumbled out on day one, while No. 3 Simona Halep and No. 6 Bouchard advanced in straight sets.

Halep opened play on the main court with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Karin Knapp. No. 10 Ekaterina Makarova, No. 14 Sara Errani, No. 21 Peng Shuai and No. 22 Karolina Pliskova also moved into the second round.

No. 5 Ana Ivanovic was the highest-ranked of the first-round losers, struggling with her serve in a 1-6, 6-3, 6-2 loss to Czech qualifier Lucie Hradecka in the first big upset of the tournament.

Irina-Camelia Begu defeated No. 9 Angelique Kerber 6-4, 0-6, 6-1, Yanina Wickmayer beat No. 23 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 and Caroline Garcia beat No. 27 and two-time major winner Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-4, 6-2. No. 16 Lucie Safarova (16), No. 17 Carla Suarez Navarro, No. 28 Sabine Lisicki and No. 32 Belinda Bencic were also defeated on the opening day.

American Christina McHale was sick on court and saved a match point as she rallied to beat Stephanie Foretz 6-4, 1-6, 12-10.

Former No. 1-ranked Ivanovic, who had a tour-leading 58 match wins in 2014 and started this season by reaching the final at the Brisbane International, had 10 double-faults and made 30 unforced errors.

"The whole match I didn’t really feel like myself out there," Ivanovic said. "It’s probably the worst thing 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."