Francesca Schiavone

Major letdown for US women: Venus, Stephens out in Melbourne

U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens was first to go, followed quickly by last year's Australian Open runner-up, Venus Williams.

CoCo Vandeweghe went out next as things really started to go crazy for the U.S. women, who eventually lost nine out of 10 first-round matches on a bleak opening day of the Australian Open.

Four months after American women filled all four semifinal spots at the U.S. Open — for the first time in 36 years — three of them are out of contention at the next Grand Slam.

Monday's major letdown was compounded when eighth-seeded Jack Sock and No. 16 John Isner joined the procession of U.S. first-round losers.

In her first match at Rod Laver Arena...

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