American tennis star Venus Williams has been knocked out of the Australian Open tournament in the first round itself following a 2-6 6-4 6-4 defeat by Russian Ekaterina Makarova on the opening day of the first Grand Slam event of the year. The seven-time Grand Slam champion has fueled speculation that her glittering career might be nearing its end following her third opening-round exit from her past six Grand Slam appearances, after losing in the first round just three times in her first 54 majors.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, 22nd seed Makarova survived a spirited start by Williams to win the game and will next face unseeded Italian Irina Falconi, who beat Spain”s Anabel Medina Garrigues 6-3 6-1. In other first-round matches on day one, ninth seed Angelique Kerber of Germany beat Australia”s Jarmila Gajdosova 6-3 0-6 6-2, Belgian 18th seed Kirsten Flipkens defeated Britain”s Laura Robson 6-3 6-0 and unseeded Australian Casey Dellacqua accounted for Russia”s Vera Zvonareva 6-2 6-2, the report added. ANI