US Open champion Samantha Stosur's struggles on home soil continued today as she made a stunning first-round exit from the Australian Open.
The sixth-seeded Queenslander has never been past the fourth round of her home slam but expectations were high she could improve on that miserable record after her stunning success at Flushing Meadows last year.
But she again bid an early farewell, losing 7-6 (7/2) 6-3 to Romanian Sorana Cirstea. The defeat follows hot on the heels of a second-round exit in Brisbane and a first-round defeat in Sydney.
She said: "I am extremely disappointed. It's certainly not what I wanted, not just this tournament but the whole summer.
"I think it was one of those matches where I wasn't taking charge and she was playing super aggressive.
"She would either hit great balls or could miss by a long way.
"She hung in there and kept going for it and eventually got better and better. She played a very, very good match and you have to give credit where it's due."
As for the pressure on her shoulders coming into the event, she added: "There's probably nothing greater than my own expectation.
"I really, really wanted to do well here and over the summer and I did everything I could to try to give myself a good opportunity. But it obviously didn't happen.
"I know everyone was behind me and it's disappointing that I won't get another chance to step out on court."
Serena Williams, the 12th seed but widely regarded as the favourite if she can stay fit, saw off Austrian Tamira Paszek in the final match of the day and her first in Melbourne in two years.
Williams gained a solitary break in the first set and two more in the second to advance 6-3 6-2 with the match finally concluding at 12.50am local time.
When asked about the late finish, the American said: "I am definitely a night owl, I can stay up all night."
Earlier Petra Kvitova and Maria Sharapova made smooth progress into round two.
Kvitova, the second seed, cruised past Russian Vera Dushevina 6-2 6-0 on Rod Laver Arena while fourth seed Sharapova demolished Gisela Dulko 6-0 6-1.
Dushevina made a strong start, holding serve and breaking Kvitova on her first opportunity to establish an early lead. But once the Czech clicked into gear it turned into a one-sided contest as Kvitova rattled through the remaining games to move into round two and a meeting with Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro.
"After a slow start it was fine," said 21-year-old Kvitova. "But I can improve my serve for sure.
"The score looks easy but it wasn't, the games were very close and I am glad I am through."
Fourteenth seed Sabine Lisicki, a Wimbledon semi-finalist last year, survived a scare to advance courtesy of a 6-2 4-6 6-4 defeat of Swiss qualifier Stefanie Voegele.
Lisicki had the trainer on court, seemingly taking her pulse and blood pressure as she looked to be wilting in the 35 degree heat, but she still found the reserves to hit back from 4-2 down in the final set to come through.
Maria Kirilenko, seeded 27, ousted Jarmila Gajdosova while there were also wins on day two for seventh seed Vera Zvonareva, ninth seed Marion Bartoli, 15th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, 17th seed Dominika Cibulkova and home favourite Jelena Dokic.