Bemelmans competes mainly in the Challenger tour circuit. He won his first Futures event in Espelkamp, Germany in July 2007, and has a total of nine titles at this level. His best performance to date was in winning the Volkswagen Challenger event in Wolfsburg in March 2009, winning three matches in qualifying before going on to beat Stefano Galvani of Italy in the final. He won this tournament again in 2011.
This article titled “Australian Open 2018: Nadal, Kyrgios, Wozniacki win; Sock out on day one – as it happened” was written by Barry Glendenning (earlier) and Gregg Bakowski, for theguardian.com on Monday 15th January 2018 12.51 UTC
Novak Djokovic and his fragile elbow swing into action against the world No63 American Donald Young. The six-time Australian Open winner is last on the Margaret Court Arena in the day session and is seeded 14th mainly because he’s spent half of the previous season out through injury.
On the same court, and in the match immediately before Djokovic, we’ll see how Maria Sharapova gets on. With no Serena Williams around, she has a fair chance of going deep this year. Whether that will prove popular with fans or not is another matter. She plays Tatjana Maria, who is ranked higher than Sharapova but who the Russian should beat.
On the Hisense Arena Johanna Konta, seeded ninth, takes on the world No82 American Madison Brengle, who may feel a little added pressure to do well given how badly the her better known compatriots have performed so far.
And in the evening the Rod Laver Arena welcomes back Roger Federer, who will cruise into action against the sometimes tricky Slovenian, Aljaz Bedene.
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Updated at 12.57pm GMT
The experienced and stocky Tunisian battled back from two sets down to dispatch the Italian qualifier. He outlasted him in a marathon that just went past the four-hour mark. That’s the last of the action for today. I’ll post a few of the matches to look forward to tomorrow shortly.
Updated at 3.04pm GMT
With only one match left to finish it’s probably worth reminding ourselves as to which seeds were sent on their way on a good day in Melbourne for the underdogs.
Among the men’s seeds to fall, were:
John Isner (16), beaten 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 by Matthew Ebden
Kevin Anderson (11), beaten 6-7, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 by Kyle Edmund
Lucas Pouille (18), beaten 6-4, 6-4, 6-7, 7-6 by Ruben Bemelmans
Philipp Kohlschreiber (27), beaten 6-3, 2-6, 6-0, 1-6, 6-2 by Yoshi Nishioka
Jack Sock (8), beaten 6-1, 7-6, 5-7, 6-3 by Yuchi Sugita
Among the women’s seeds to fall, were:
Venus Williams (5), beaten 6-3, 7-5 by Belinda Bencic
Ekaterina Makarova (31), beaten 3-6, 6-4, 8-6 by Irina Begu
Sloane Stephens (13), beaten 2-6, 7-6, 6-2 by Shuai Zhang
Dominika Cibulkova (24), beaten 6-2, 6-2 by Kaia Kanepi
Coco Vandeweghe (10), beaten 7-6, 6-2 by Timea Babos
Updated at 12.24pm GMT
Despite having to receive treatment for some kind of muscle problem, the Italian Caruso has fought his way back into the fifth set against Jaziri. He’s battling on the outer courts and trails 2-1 but is on serve in the fourth game.
There is only one singles match still in play at Melbourne, where Caruso v Jaziri has gone to a final set after three and a-half hours of gruelling baseline trades. The older player, Jaziri, has the upper hand in the fifth. He’s using his nous to drag Caruso around court and is 2-0 up. In fact, the Italian looks to be suffering from cramp.
The French No15 seed breezes through in straight sets and will face a tricky customer in the second round in the form of 18-year-old Canadian Denis Shapovalov. The world No51 is all action, like a younger version of Tsonga, and has a blazingly bright future ahead of him. Expect tickets to sell fast for that one.
Tsonga’s greater athleticism is starting to show against King. He’s starting to pull the qualifier around the court and is moving supremely well. He leads 5-1 in the third and look set to go through in the next few minutes. He’s made more unforced errors than he’d have liked – particularly on his forehand – but looks in good shape. He got to the quarter-final last year. Could he go further this time out?
Updated at 12.37pm GMT
They’re both rank outsiders but what an epic they have produced out on Court 19, where the teenage Norwegian, ranked 142 in the world, has triumphed 6-3, 3-6, 6-7 (5-7), 7-5, 11-9 in fours hours and 16 minutes against the world No129. Casper Ruud: remember the name!
Updated at 12.38pm GMT
It appears that the effort Dustin Brown put into levelling the match against Joao Sousa at 2-2 took the remaining energy out of him. He lost his mojo in the fifth and went down 4-6, 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-4), 1-6. Maybe next year Dustin.
Tsonga has taken the second set against Kevin King and leads 6-4, 6-4, but he’s being given a fair workout by the American qualifier, who is battling gamely from the baseline. It’s 1-1 on serve in the third.
The Australian No23 seed barely paused for breath as she raced through against the US qualifier. She punches the air and shakes her opponents’s hand before shuffling off to put her feet up after a comfortable night’s work.
Bemelmans’ victory against Pouille is just the latest of a number of shock wins for underdogs at Melbourne today. In case you missed it, here’s the report of one of them from earlier in the day, when a legend of the women’s game and last year’s finalist, Venus Williams, was sent tumbling by Belinda Bencic, who said Roger Federer gave her a helping hand.
Updated at 11.18am GMT
That’s another result to add to the list of surprises on day one! The Belgian qualifier, ranked 118 in the world, dispatches the talented world No18 in four sets. Pouille survived the ignominy of losing in straight sets by winning the third on a tie-break but he couldn’t repeat the trick in the fourth, crumbling with three unforced errors in a row. But what a win for Bemelmans, who played superbly well and has never been past the first round in Melbourne before.
Updated at 3.05pm GMT
Dustin Brown stays alive! The German took the fourth set tie-break after applying the pressure by getting his forehand swinging. He wins the tie-break 7-4, with Sousa dumping a return into the net.
Updated at 12.40pm GMT
Here’s a quick update as to what is happening in the matches that are ongoing in Melbourne as the clock ticks towards 10pm there:
On the Rod Laver Arena, the Australian No23 women’s seed, Daria Gavrilova, is cruising against the American Irina Falconi and has just taken the first set 6-1.
On Margaret Court, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the men’s 15th seed, took the first set 6-4 against the US qualifier Kevin King and is leading 3-2 in the second set but is by no means having it all his own way.
On Court 7, the men’s 18th seed, Lucas Pouille, is involved in a rare old battle with Belgian qualifier Ruben Bemelmans, who took the first two sets 6-4, 6-4 before Pouille fought back to take the third 7-6. Bemelmans leads 6-5 in the fourth but it is on serve.
On Court 14 Salvatore Caruso leads Malek Jaziri 7-6, 6-3 but is trailing 3-5 in the third.
On Court 15 the great entertainer from Germany, Dustin Brown, is battling hard against Portugal’s Joao Sousa. He trails 4-6, 3-6, 6-4 and is hoping to stay in the tournament by taking the fourth, which is tied 6-6.
And on Court 19 Casper Ruud of Norway is approaching a fourth hour of play in an epic match with Quentin Halys of France. It’s two sets all and 6-6 in the fifth as the two men slog it out in the evening air.
Updated at 11.11am GMT
Kevin King is battling hard to break Tsonga, who is trying to serve out – but struggling – in the first set. The qualifier plays two wonderful backhand winners as the two bounce between advantage and deuce repeatedly in a lengthy game before Tsonga finally finds a couple of booming serves to win 6-4 and take a 1-0 lead.
Updated at 10.40am GMT
On the Margaret Court Arena, the men’s 15th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, is doing what he does best – leaping, slipping, smiling and bouncing around as he plots a course for a first-set win over the US qualifier Kevin King. Tsonga leads 5-3.
Updated at 10.41am GMT
Some good news for Australian tennis fans. The world No165, John Millman from Brisbane, has beaten the talented young world No41 Borna Coric of Croatia. He did it in some style too, winning 7-5, 6-4, 6-1. It’s been an up-and-down first day for the home fans, with Matthew Ebden battling to a brilliant career-best win over John Isner and Sam Stosur losing in three sets to Monica Puig. You can read all about those matches here:
The American horror story continues as the No8 seed and top-ranked US men’s player, Jack Sock, falls victim to the Japanese world No41 in four sets on Show Cout 2. He follows fellow US players John Isner, Venus Williams, Sloane Stephens and CoCo Vandeweghe in falling at the first hurdle. Sock made seven double-faults and looked extremely laboured. There were questions about his fitness before the tournament but regardless, it’s a wonderful moment for Sugita, who has never been past the first round before.
The women’s No4 seed is through. She had a bit of trouble finishing the qualifier off at the end – a touch of the tennis yips – but she got there eventually.
Updated at 12.42pm GMT
“I was disappointed I couldn’t make it in Brisbane but I’m very happy to be here again,” he says. And how did he get fit again after a lengthy absence after Wimbledon? “I just worked. I took a little time off and straight after London I had to stop for a while and then started working step by step. That’s why I didn’t make Brisbane because I wanted to be ready for this.” He’s asked how many more years he thinks he can play for? “This year I am here,” he chuckles, with sweat dripping off his hair. “I know one day that I won’t have the chance to play on this court so I want to enjoy every moment when I have the chance.”
Updated at 12.08pm GMT
Well, you could say this was a no-sweat victory for Rafa but the way he went about it in such an aggressive manor was quite impressive. He treated his 37-year-old opponent like a grand slam rival, pounding shots back at him and chasing down everything. The scoreline doesn’t reflect the entertaining value of the match. Some of the rallies were good fun and Estrella Burgos deserves a lot of credit for that. But Rafa charges on.
Updated at 9.56am GMT
Having taken the first set against Ivana Jorovic 6-3, the women’s No4 seed, Elina Svitolina, has stepped it up in the second set. She’s 4-0 up and giving the young Serbian a painful runaround. The Ukrainian won the Brisbane International before this year’s tournament and, understandably, looks full of confidence.
The temperamental Australian No17 seed was all business on the Hisense Arena, taking just an hour and 27 minutes to send the Brazilian, ranked 101 in the world, tumbling out. Making early predictions about Kyrgios is a risky game though. But he looked focused out there and could be one to keep an eye on if he stays fit and happy.
Updated at 12.06pm GMT
Nadal didn’t enjoy being broken by Estrella Burgos. He swats aside his oponent in the next game to take the second set 6-1 and lead 2-0. And he very quickly races into a 2-0 lead in the third. On the subject of player’s in the men’s draw who are in a hurry, the enigma that is Nick Kryrgios has been i9n rampant form and is on the verge of making the second round as he leads Dutra Silva 6-1, 6-2, 5-4.
Updated at 9.35am GMT
The women’s No2 seed takes just over an hour to sweep aside the Romanian world No60. She found her groove and never missed a step. Her first serve was accurate and she looked in fine fettle. She’ll be hoping to go deep this year, having not been past the fourth round since 2012.
Updated at 12.03pm GMT
Hello, Gregg here. Well, you join me as Estrella Burgos has just enjoyed a wonderful moment at the Rod Laver Arena, where after being pummelled 6-1 in the first set and trailing 5-0 in the second, the 83 ranked player in the world broke the No1 seed after a helter-skelter game and celebrated it like he’d just won a grand slam. The crowd loved it.
That’s all from me for this morning. Having brought you up to speed on events thus far, I’m going to leave you in the very capable hands of Gregg Bakowski, who’ll bring you updates from the big matches of the Australian evening.
Women’s singles: Infuriating local favourite Sam Stosur has gone out in the first round for the third consecutive year after blowing a match point against reigning Olympic champion and Porto Rican world No58 Monica Puig. The winner of the 2011 US Open, 33-year-old Stosur was competing in her 16th Australian Open and recorded her sixth first round exit. She has never made it past the fourth round.
Stosur was a set and a break up against the reigning Olympic champion – even holding a match point in the second-set tiebreak – before falling 4-6, 7-6 (6), 6-4 in two hours and 20 minutes.
Men’s singles result: Marcos Baghdatis (Cyp) has beaten Yuki Bhambri (Ind) 7-6 (7-4), 6-4, 6-3.
Rafael Nadal has won the first set of his match against Estrella Burgos 6-1 and leads the second set 4-0.
Nick Kyrgios is wasting no time as he dismantles Rogerio Dutra Silva. He’s won the first two sets 6-1, 6-2 but has lost the first game of the third.
Women’s singles: Out on the Margaret Court Arena, Danish No2 seed Caroline Wozniacki is leading Romania’s Mihaela Buzarnescu 5-2 in the first set of their encounter.
Men’s singles: On the Rod Laver Arena, Rafael Nadal is currently 5-1 up in the first set of his first round match against the 37-year-old Dominican veteran Estrella Burgos in their first ever meeting. On the Hisense Arena, Aussie bad boy Nick Kyrgios has just won the first set of his match against Brazil’s Rogerio Dutra Silva, 6-1.
Sloane Stephens crashed out of the Australian Open in a first round defeat to Shuai Zhang. The US Grand Slam champion suffered her eighth consecutive loss when she was dismissed 6-2, 6-7 (2), 2-6 in Melbourne.
It was a challenging draw for Stephens, currently ranked 13th, to go up against the Chinese 28-year-old, who at 34th, was just outside the seed. The 24-year-old has struggled to rediscover the form that carried her to victory over fellow American Madison Keys at the US Open in September.
Updated at 8.30am GMT
A pep talk from Roger Federer helped inspire Belinda Bencic to a major upset on the opening day of the Australian Open. The 20-year-old came into the tournament in great form and knocked out last year’s runner-up Venus Williams 6-3, 7-5. She prepared for the year’s first grand slam by teaming up with Federer to represent Switzerland at the Hopman Cup, with the pair going on to lift the trophy. And Bencic had support from the whole Federer family here, with the defending champion offering his advice before the match and congratulating her afterwards while his parents were courtside in Bencic’s player box.
“I really admire that before the match in the locker room he’s so relaxed, being funny with his team, or even with everyone,” said Benic. “Then on court, he’s so focused. I think that’s the main thing I want to learn from him. Even off the court, a normal, humble person, really happy and trying to give advice and help someone like me. I think that makes him pretty special.” PA
While Kyle Edmund’s win over Kevin Andersen may be the biggest story of the day thus far, the Briton is not the only man to have been in action on a busy day in Melbourne. Third seed Grigor Dimitrov encountered few difficulties as he advanced to the second round with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 straight sets win over Austrian qualifier Dennis Novak.
Elsewhere, Russia’s Andrey Rublev went the distance with Spain’s David Ferrer before winning their five-setter 7-5, 6-7 (8), 6-2, 6-7 (8), 6-2. Canadian teenager Denis Shapolvalov is also through to the second round after beating Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-1, 6-3, 7-6 (5), while American 16th seed John Isner was an early casualty, losing 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 to Australia’s Matthew Ebden. Sixth seed Marin Cilic, from Croatia, needed four sets to see off Yen-Hsun 6-2, 6-2, 4-6, 7-6.
Welcome to the Guardian Sport’s live coverage of this year’s Australian Open, where Kyle Edmund, Britain’s lone representative in the men’s draw in the absence of the injured Andy Murray, has already created rather a stir by knocking out the 2017 US Open finalist Kevin Andersen in five sets.
In the women’s singles, there have also been several high profile casualties, with the elimination of Venus Williams, Sloane Stephens, Dominika Cibulkova and Ekatarina Makarova serving to throw an already hard-to-predict competition even more wide open. There’s plenty more action to come, so stay tuned for regular updates.
Updated at 7.28am GMT
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