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Topic started by Sanguine Sridhar on Mon Jan 16 7:40:00 2006.

Share your views and updates about Tennis-the real sport! We will start with the Australian Open
Day-1- Highlights

Tszvetana Pironkova was hardly a household name outside of her native Bulgaria before the start of Australian Open 2006, but her name is now on everyone's lips after she produced the performance of her life to knock out Venus Williams in the first-round on Monday.

The 18-year old right-hander overcame a bout of nerves to see off the highly-fancied 10th seed 2-6 6-0 9-7 in front of a packed Vodafone Arena in her first Grand Slam appearance.

She tearfully motioned to her country's name emblazoned on the back of her warm-up jacket as she received a standing ovation from the appreciative crowd in the wake of the marathon contest that lasted nearly two-and-a-half hours.

"I was little nervous in the beginning of the match," Pironkova admitted later.

"Then when I sit down the break between the sets, I said to myself, 'It's okay. You are here in the Vodafone Arena, this big court, you need to show some tennis to the audience. Just relax and play your game.' And that happened."

Pironkova has long been an admirer of the elder Williams, but it was all business once the two faced up to each other on court.

"I know Venus since long time from the TV when I just was a little kid," she said.

"I always love her game, but when you go on court I am a professional player already, so when I go on court, I should not think about that - that she was kind of my idol before. I just have to play tennis, and I did, so there is no big difference."

Despite the enormity of her achievement, Pironkova was not about to get carried away.

"What kind of celebration? After one day I have another match. It's just one match that I won, I don't think I should celebrate," she said.

After a disastrous second set Williams recovered somewhat, but did not help her cause by committing a whopping 65 unforced errors during the contest - a point that was not lost on her after the match.

"I think this result is an indication that you cannot make (65) unforced errors and expect to win a match. That's pretty much what it is," Williams said.

"I think she's a very good player, but also I had close to 70 unforced errors. I mean, if I'm not shooting myself in the foot like that, then I'm going to be able to most likely be the victor."

"She is very good and stayed in there, that's what it takes to beat someone like me, but obviously it was not my best day. It's like, you know, we'll obviously play again. I just feel like I'll make a few less errors next time around."

"You know, if I had just a third less errors or 10 less errors, I think this match is a different story."

An obviously disappointed Williams bristled at suggestions that with her recent problems with injury, she might struggle to reclaim the form that saw her claim five Grand Slam titles.

"I think that at the end of the day, I don't care if you believe or anyone else believes in here, because it's (down to) me," she said.

"So believe what you want to. There's always going to be naysayers. You may be one of them, I don't know. Guess what? I don't care."

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