Leylah Fernandez, Coco Gauff: The top 5 upsets of the Australian Open so far

Coco Gauff, Leylah Fernandez

We’ve become accustomed to seeing upsets in women’s tennis of late and the first round of the Australian Open has delivered on that front once again.

While there were comfortable wins for defending champion Naomi Osaka and world number one Ashleigh Barty, some of the draw’s top seeds have been eliminated from the competition already.

With Australian youngsters taking centre-stage and a forgotten American re-discovering her touch, here are the top five upsets from round one in Melbourne:

Coco Gauff

Despite being the youngest player in the women’s draw, Gauff was seeded 18th and had shown plenty of promise leading into the tournament.

The American reached the semi-final of the Adelaide International 2 and came within two games of beating Barty the previous week.

However, the 17-year-old was well-beaten by China’s Wang Qiang –– a player currently ranked outside the top 100.

Gauff hit 38 unforced errors in total and admitted afterwards there were no positives to take from the match.

Wang famously beat Serena Williams in Melbourne two years ago, en route to the fourth round and will fancy her chances against Belgium’s Alison Van Uytvanck next up.

Coco Gauff

Leylah Fernandez

Last September, Maddison Inglis was cheering on Leylah Fernandez in the US Open final. Now, the 24-year-old has just beaten the Canadian in the Australian Open.

Inglis is a close friend of Fernandez’s doubles partner Erin Routcliffe and the Aussie said she watched the world number 24 in both the singles and doubles at Flushing Meadows.

Fast forward, and the 133rd ranked Inglis beat the teenager in straight sets, 6-4 6-2.

It’s the first time the Australian has ever won a match at a Grand Slam and she will face unseeded American Hailey Baptiste in round two.

Fernandez

Petra Kvitová

Two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitová has struggled at Grand Slams recently and failed to reach beyond the third round at any of the four majors in 2021.

The 20th seed’s problems continued today as she was comprehensively defeated by Romania’s Sorana Cîrstea 6-2 6-2.

Cîrstea is ranked 38th in the world and the draw was arguably a tough one for Kvitová first up.

Yet, the Czech player has been in a terrible run of form –– suffering her first-ever double bagel against Amanda Anisimova at the Melbourne Summer Set 2 recently.

Therefore, though this loss may seem like an upset on paper, it is not as surprising as one might think.

Sofia Kenin

Similarly, Sofia Kenin’s defeat against compatriot Madison Keys appears to be an upset on paper but it was Keys who was arguably the favourite leaving into the match.

Kenin, who won the Australian Open back in 2020 without dropping a set, has been unable to re-discover this form since and is seemingly lacking any confidence.

Though she was seeded eighth for the tournament, this ranking stems from her victory in Melbourne two years ago, and with these ranking points now gone, the American is likely to slip to around 90th in the world.

Keys, meanwhile, is starting to find her feet again and won her first WTA title in three years at the Adelaide International 2 last week.

Next up for the 26-year-old is Romania’s Jaqueline Cristian.

Kenin

Shelby Rogers

While Shelby Rogers was unseeded for this event, her form on hard courts at majors has been solid of late.

The American reached the fourth round at both the Australian Open and the US Open last year but lost in three sets to Croatia’s Ana Konjuh today.

Konjuh reached the quarter-final in New York back in 2016 but is yet to make it beyond the second round in Melbourne.

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