Sunday at the 2015 Brisbane International Tennis provided an exciting mix of off-court fun and on-court surprise as the first WTA Premier tournament of the brand new season kicked into high gear right away.
Before it was time for the all-serious business of main draw tennis, the day started on a light-hearted note with the Suncorp Kids Tennis Spectacular inside Pat Rafter Arena.
The plenty of kids in the audience got to enjoy the presence of comic favorites like Spongebob Squarepants and tennis royalty including Martina Hingis, Bethanie Mattek-Sands & Victoria Azarenka, who participated in a fun-filled three-versus three-match.
The two-time Australian Open champion embraced the occasion as usual, entertaining the kids and sharing plenty of laughs with the fans and the teen icons on court.
While it was all fun and games inside Pat Rafter Arena, the qualifying stage completed on the outside courts as Yaroslava Shvedova & Daria Gavrilova managed to clinch their spots in the Brisbane International Tennis main draw.
Once kids day was over, it was time for serious business inside Pat Rafter Arena and the first main draw match of the year already had plenty of surprise in store as wildcard player Ajla Tomljanovic beat Jelena Jankovic 7-6 6-0 to kick off the 2015 edition of the tournament.
Playing for Australia since this season, Tomljanovic made the most of her newly-found home crowd, playing a gutsy match against the former #1, as Jankovic struggled with the lack of match practice due to her off-season injury.
Afterwards, Jankovic opened up to the press, talking about her back injury that prevented her from doing the most menial tasks such as brushing her teeth or putting on her shoes. “All my muscles disappeared, I looked like jelly!” the Serbian quipped, citing her lack of match play as main reason for today’s loss.
The surprises inside Pat Rafter Arena kept on coming as Andrea Petkovic failed to win her first-round match against Kaia Kanepi by 4-6 7-5 4-6, while Sam Stosur once more failed to make it past round one in an Australian tournament, losing to Varvara Lepchenko 6-4 4-6 5-7.
Sunday also had a very interesting doubles pairing in store, as Ana Ivanovic & Angelique Kerber completed their first doubles match of the season, beating Klaudia Jans-Iganik & Andreja Klepac.
The Serbian-German pairing was not just met by plenty of Australian sun and packed grandstands, Ivanovic’s boyfriend Bastian Schweinsteiger was on hand as well, as the German football superstar cheered on his sweetheart together with Ivanovic’s coaching team.
The action will continue inside Queensland Tennis Centre on Monday, as Victoria Azarenka, Dominika Cibulkova, Angelique Kerber & Sabine Lisicki among others will kick off the quest for their first title in 2015.