Venus Williams is out of the Australian Open after the first round

Venus Williams is out of the Australian Open after the first round
Venus Williams plays a backhand return during her women's singles match against Johanna Konta on Tuesday. (WILLIAM WEST / AFP/Getty Images)

Venus Williams tried to rally, winning two games and getting another break-point chance Tuesday after falling a set and 5-0 behind, before her 16th trip to the Australian Open finished in a first-round loss to Johanna Konta.

In the men's draw, No. 2-seeded Andy Murray had little trouble advancing to the second round, beating sometime practice partner Alexander Zverev, 6-1, 6-2, 6-3.


Williams, 35, a seven-time major winner, trudged off the court waving to the crowd on the second day of the tournament after losing, 6-4, 6-2, to Konta, a Sydney-born British player ranked No. 47.

Williams is 0-2 this year after losing in a warmup tournament at Auckland, New Zealand. It was the eighth time the American has lost in the first round of a Grand Slam tournament and the third time in Australia, where she reached the quarterfinals in her first appearance in 1998 and lost the final to her youngest sister, Serena, in 2003.

Konta used groundstrokes in a high-risk, high-reward approach that kept the No. 8-seeded Williams, who had wrapping on her left leg, on the defensive.

"When the draw came out and I saw who I was playing I was like 'Well, OK, I just hope to stay out there more than an hour,'" Konta said.

No. 3 Garbine Muguruza needed an hour to defeat qualifier Anett Kontaveit, 6-0, 6-4; No. 11 Timea Bacsinszky advanced with a victory over Katerina Siniakova, 6-3, 7-5.

No. 15 Madison Keys, a semifinalist last year, had to save set points in the first before beating Zarina Diyas, 7-6 (5), 6-1.

"I think being down set point almost helped me. I thought, 'You're down, keep playing. You can only lose the set,'" she said. "I definitely had to dig deep and figure it out."

No. 21 Ekaterina Makarova opened with a 6-3, 6-0 victory over Maddison Inglis.

Murray, who has lost in all four finals he has contested at Melbourne Park, broke Zverev's serve to open the second and third sets. Zverev, 18, committed seven double-faults.

"It seemed like all the games were going to deuce," Murray said. "He hung in until the end, made it tough and fought hard. He's young, but he's one of the best young players in the world and he's going to be around for a long time."

No. 13 Milos Raonic beat Lucas Pouille, 6-1, 6-4, 6-4, and No. 32 Joao Sousa defeated Mikhail Kukushkin, 6-3, 6-4, 6-3.