Australia’s tennis stars are none from three on day one of the US Open following first-round exits for Casey Dellacqua, Matt Ebden and John Millman.
After reaching the final 16 last year, Dellacqua went down 7-5 6-2 to Estonian qualifier Anett Kontaveit before Bulgarian 17th seed Grigor Dimitrov outclassed Ebden 6-4 6-2 6-4 and Millman suffered a tough four-set loss to Ukraine’s Sergiy Stakhovsky.
Dellacqua faces a rankings dip after being unable to defend the truckload of points accrued in 2014, but was philosophical in defeat.
“I came up against a girl that was full of confidence coming through qualifying, playing well and unfortunately I didn’t bring my best stuff,” she said.
“You never take qualifiers lightly because they’re really tough, and she’s young.
“She’s 20, she’s got nothing to lose, she was going to throw the kitchen sink at me and she did – and she did it well.”
A big underdog against Dimitrov, Ebden was unable to match the former Wimbledon semi-finalist from the back of the court and crashed out after one hour and 33 minutes.
After winning three matches to qualify, Ebden was dejected not to seriously challenge the 17th seed.
“You always want to do better, but in a way I’m on a good path for this year,” he said.
“I’ve had lots of matches; I think I’ve won more matches this year than any other year up until now.
“The main thing today was he served a lot better than I did. Everything flows from there.
“Probably that was the biggest difference.”
Millman had four set points on Stakhovsky’s serve at 4-5 and 5-6 in the pivotal third set but was unable to convert in a 6-1 3-6 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 loss in his main-draw debut in New York.
Two other Australians are scheduled for singles action on the opening day, with Sam Groth playing Ukraine’s Alexandr Dolgopolov and Daria Gavrilova facing Russian teenager Daria Kasatkina, who gained a late entry following the injury-enforced withdrawal of third seed Maria Sharapova.