Bondarenkos Bite the Dust in Melbourne
Published January 22, 2009 12:00
MELBOURNE, Australia - They had seemed in promising form after reaching the final at Hobart last week, but out of 16 seeded teams, defending doubles champions Alona and Kateryna Bondarenko were the sole first round casualties at this year's Australian Open. They fell to Gisela Dulko and Roberta Vinci in straight sets, 62 75.
Perhaps it was the pressure of the situation that unseated the mercurial Ukrainian sisters. But ironically, Dulko also got the better of the pair in that Hobart final playing with another Italian, Flavia Pennetta; next up for the upset artists are Lucie Safarova and Galina Voskoboeva, who were little troubled by Marina Erakovic and Jelena Kostanic Tosic in their first round match.
Despite falling early at both of their warm-up events ahead of the first Grand Slam of the year, top-seeded Cara Black and Liezel Huber brushed aside Russians Anna Chakvetadze and Alisa Kleybanova, 62 63. On the opposing side of the draw, No.2 seeds Anabel Medina Garrigues and Virginia Ruano Pascual, who are looking to add to the French Open title they currently hold, began their campaign convincingly too, losing just four games to Dominika Cibulkova and Virginie Razzano.
Third seeds Kveta Peschke and Lisa Raymond had to work a bit harder against Italian duo Sara Errani and Karin Knapp, but after winning the first set tie-break without losing a point, surged to victory.
Also safely through to the second round, which starts on Friday, are fifth-seeded Aussies Samantha Stosur and Rennae Stubbs; sixth-seeded Chinese duo Yan Zi and Zheng Jie; and No.7 seeds Maria Kirilenko and Flavia Pennetta, who survived a three-setter against Liga Dekmeijere and Aleksandra Wozniak.
Venus and Serena Williams, seeded 10th and intent on adding to their current Wimbledon and Olympic titles, had a surprisingly easy 63 61 win over accomplished Russians Svetlana Kuznetsova and Nadia Petrova. But No.16 seeds Hsieh Su-Wei and Peng Shuai, champions last week in Sydney, were pushed to 6-4 in the third set by Maret Ani and Renata Voracova.