Biggest winner: Daria Kasatkina (d. V. Williams 6-7 6-3 6-3)
There was a lot of hype surrounding Daria Kasatkina heading into season 2016 with many expecting the young Russian to climb up the rankings. However I don’t think many would have expected the 18-year-old to make such a massive impact in her first match of the season.
The Russian claimed easily the greatest victory of her career by upsetting defending Champion Venus Williams in three sets in the first round at the ASB Classic in Auckland. The manner in which Daria won was particularly impressive, after losing a tight opening set it would have been very easy for the Russian to become disheartened, however to the contrary she actually stepped up her game, it was very refreshing to see. Daria displayed her all-round game, her great movement and flashy forehand stood out. Now the challenge for Daria is to quickly forget about the victory and concentrate on moving further through the draw.
Biggest loser: Ana Ivanovic (d. by N. Broady 5-7 4-6)
Ana Ivanovic made a horrific start to her 2016 season, suffering an embarrassing straight sets loss to British qualifier Naomi Broady. After a disappointing 2015 season, Ivanovic would have been hoping to gain some much needed confidence in Auckland however this result will do the exact opposite and has the potential to have a lasting effect.
Ivanovic never looked comfortable throughout her first match of the season. Ana unable to read the Naomi’s serve as the Brit fired 14 aces past her racquet. Ivanovic’s own serve was as erratic as ever, committing 8 double faults including a couple towards the end of the match at very crucial stages. Ivanovic clearly has a lot to work on before stepping onto the court in Melbourne.