MELBOURNE, Australia - While Day 1 of the Australian Open went almost completely to form, the favorites showed some cracks on Day 2, with a handful of first round upsets - and the teens rose up.
Ten teenagers to be exact, led by the world's No.1 teen, Sloane Stephens. Stephens, who is coming off an impressive lead-up that saw her reach the quarterfinals of Brisbane and the semis of Hobart - and subsequently break the Top 30 and Top 25 following those results - made an impressive start to her first Grand Slam as a seeded player. The No.29-seeded American crushed Simona Halep, 61 61.
Kristina Mladenovic, Donna Vekic, Garbiñe Muguruza, Jana Cepelova, Yulia Putintseva, Luksika Kumkhum and Daria Gavrilova also won, with a few of them just surviving - Mladenovic won 11-9 in the third against Timea Babos, while Muguruza won 14-12 in the third against Magdalena Rybarikova.
The four Top 8 seeds all played earlier in the day, with some mixed results - Victoria Azarenka, Serena Williams and Petra Kvitova all won, but Sara Errani was ousted (read more about those matches here).
The next tier of seeds also had mixed results, with No.10 seed Caroline Wozniacki rallying from 3-0 down in the third set to beat Sabine Lisicki, 26 63 63; No.14 seed Maria Kirilenko beating Vania King, 64 62; and No.16 seed Roberta Vinci beating Sílvia Soler-Espinosa, 63 75, but No.12 seed Nadia Petrova going down to Kimiko Date-Krumm in an historic match, 62 60 (more about it here).
There were more upsets among the lower tier of seeds, with Ukrainian qualifier Lesia Tsurenko avenging a loss in the Brisbane semifinals with a 75 36 75 win over No.24 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, and Jamie Hampton continuing her great 2013 with a 62 64 win over No.31 seed Urszula Radwanska.
Also among the Day 2 winners were refreshed former World No.2 Svetlana Kuznetsova, former Top 15 players Shahar Peer and Peng Shuai and finally Elena Vesnina, who extended her winning streak to six matches in a row with a 36 63 61 win over Caroline Garcia - Vesnina won her first WTA title in Hobart.
Peng defeated Rebecca Marino, 63 60. "I had never played her before," Peng said. "I knew she had a big serve. Before the match, my coach told me that when I start, be ready for her serve. And it was also a long time since I had played in hot weather - in Shenzhen and Hobart it was really cold, I almost had to play with my jacket! But it's good - I'm really happy that I won my first round match today."
The Australian Open was nearly the site of Peng's first Grand Slam quarterfinal - two years ago she lost to Agnieszka Radwanska in the fourth round after holding two match points at 5-4 third set. And now she will face the player who sent her out of last year's Wimbledon in the fourth round - Kirilenko.
"For sure from the grass to the hard will be different - and I was training a lot in the winter," Peng said. "I have one more day to be ready for that. I'll get some rest and talk to my coach about strategy."