And there was joy for the home fans in Melbourne as seven men made it through the men's first round - with two of those victories coming in fine style.
First, Thanasi Kokkinakis beat 11th seed Ernests Gulbis of Latvia 5-7 6-0 1-6 7-6(2) 8-6.
Novak Djokovic shows why he is king of Melbourne
Then, Nick Kyrgios - conqueror of Rafa Nadal at Wimbledon last year - also came through a five-setter, beating Argentina's Federico Delbonis 7-6(2) 3-6 6-3 6-7(5) 6-3.
World number five Ivanovic was upset 1-6 6-3 6-2 by Czech doubles specialist Lucie Hradecka, making her one of five women's seeds to fall during a sun-drenched day session.
[IN-DEPTH MATCH REPORT: Fifth seed Ana Ivanovic stunned by Lucie Hradecka]
Maria Sharapova avioded the cull, never looking in danger as she beat Petra Martic of Croatia 6-4 6-1.
[IN-DEPTH MATCH REPORT: Maria Sharapova eases through in Melbourne]
Romania's Simona Halep, seeded third and fancied to break through for a maiden grand slam title this year, also had few worries in a 6-3 6-2 rout of Italian Karin Knapp before a number of her seeded rivals were swept away in the afternoon sun.
Teenage sensation Belinda Bencic was the first to fall, the 32nd-ranked Swiss losing to German world number 73 Julia Goerges 6-2 6-1.
Two-time grand slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, seeded 27th, was also sent packing by Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia and her 23rd seeded Russian compatriot Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova soon followed, going down to Belgium's Yanina Wickmayer.
Ninth seed Angelique Kerber lost a topsy-turvy match to Irina Begu, the Romanian winning 6-4 0-6 6-1 on what she described as a "bad day at the office".
Spain's 17th seed Carla Suarez Navarro won just four games as she lost 6-3 6-1 to Germany's Carina Witthoeft.
Former Wimbledon finalist Sabine Lisicki was another high-profile casualty, the 28th-seeded German upset in three sets by 71st-ranked Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic.
And in one of the later matches, 16th seed Lucie Safarova lost an epic clash against Yaroslava Shvedova, with the Kazakh winning 6-4 2-6 8-6.
But Hradecka, who played only three WTA events last year, caused the biggest upset by overhauling former French Open champion Ivanovic and squealed in disbelief after the out-of-sorts Serb bowed out with her 30th unforced error.
"I was so nervous in the beginning and same in the end. My hand was shaky," a beaming Hradecka told the Rod Laver Arena crowd.
Serbia's Ana Ivanovic falls on court during her women's singles match against Czech Republic's Lucie Hradecka on day one of the 2015 Australian Open
Image credit: AFP
The upsets came earlier than expected and the intrigue was meant to occur on Rod Laver Arena, where third seed Nadal's comeback from illness and injury was expected to be given a thorough examination by Russian veteran Mikhail Youzhny.
[IN-DEPTH MATCH REPORT: Rafael Nadal crushes Mikhail Youzhny in Melbourne]
Within a handful of games, however, it was Youzhny plagued with doubts as his pink-clad Spanish opponent wasted little time easing into his grand slam groove before roaring to a 6-3 6-2 6-2 win in less than two hours.
"The second half of last year was tough mentally and physically," Nadal said in a courtside interview. "So it was very emotional to be back on court.
"This first match here was tough mentally for me. I hope this match will give me confidence as I play the next round."
Sixth seed Andy Murray enjoyed no problems in a solid first win as the leading men marched into the second round - with seventh seed Tomas Berdych also easing to a win as he beat Alejandro Falla of Colombia 6-3 7-6(1) 6-3, and second seed Roger Federer at his best in a first round destruction of Taiwan's Rendy Lu.
[IN-DEPTH MATCH REPORT: Roger Federer waltzes into second round in Australia]
Indeed, Gulbis's defeat by Kokkinakis was the only loss suffered by seed in the men's draw, although 15th seeded veteran Tommy Robredo was forced to retire injured.
Bidding for a maiden Australian Open title after three trips to the final, Murray's 6-3 6-4 7-6(3) win over Indian qualifier Yuki Bhambri was not without some anxious moments, the Scot jarring his knee early in the second set and falling 4-1 behind in the third.
[IN-DEPTH MATCH REPORT: Andy Murray moves safely into second round]
Murray yelled out "shocking movement!" when he lost his serve before composing himself to break back and seal the match in a one-sided tiebreak.
"The whole match he made it very difficult, he played very aggressively," Murray said of Bhambri, the lowest-ranked player in the draw at 317.
"He's very talented... He shouldn't be ranked 300 in the world."
With the men's tournament regarded one of the most open in years, Grigor Dimitrov issued an ominous warning to the tennis establishment with a 6-2 6-3 6-2 rout of dread-locked Jamaican-born German Dustin Brown.
In terms of length, Brown's hair was arguably superior to the 69-minute contest, which was over when his 10th seeded opponent bashed down his 11th ace.
Coached by Australian Roger Rasheed, Dimitrov began his breakout year in 2014 with a quarter-final appearance at Melbourne Park and was keen to garner more crowd support.
"I feel like an adopted Australian sometimes... It's great (the crowd), it really boosts your confidence," the Bulgarian said.
"It's really good to be out here. I like the vibe."
Men's round 1 results
Nick Kyrgios (Australia) beat Federico Delbonis (Argentina) 7-6(2) 3-6 6-3 6-7(5) 6-3
Thanasi Kokkinakis (Australia) beat 11-Ernests Gulbis (Latvia) 5-7 6-0 1-6 7-6(2) 8-6
Malek Jaziri (Tunisia) beat Mikhail Kukushkin (Kazakhstan) 6-2 6-3 2-6 7-6(3)
Simone Bolelli (Italy) beat Juan Monaco (Argentina) 6-3 3-6 6-3 6-1
2-Roger Federer (Switzerland) beat Lu Yen-Hsun (Taiwan) 6-4 6-2 7-5
23-Ivo Karlovic (Croatia) beat Ruben Bemelmans (Belgium) 6-4 6-2 6-4
Viktor Troicki (Serbia) beat Jiri Vesely (Czech Republic) 6-3 3-6 6-2 6-3
Dudi Sela (Israel) beat Jan-Lennard Struff (Germany) 6-4 4-6 3-6 6-3 7-5
Samuel Groth (Australia) beat Filip Krajinovic (Serbia) 6-3 7-6(4) 6-4
Jurgen Melzer (Austria) beat Victor Estrella (Dominican Republic) 6-1 6-4 6-2
28-Lukas Rosol (Czech Republic) beat Kenny De Schepper (France) 4-6 6-2 6-7(4) 6-3 6-4
22-Philipp Kohlschreiber (Germany) beat Paul-Henri Mathieu (France) 6-2 6-2 6-1
Bernard Tomic (Australia) beat Tobias Kamke (Germany) 7-5 6-7(1) 6-3 6-2
26-Leonardo Mayer (Argentina) beat John Millman (Australia) 6-3 6-3 6-2
Marcos Baghdatis (Cyprus) beat Teymuraz Gabashvili (Russia) 6-2 6-7(5) 3-6 6-4 6-4
Tim Smyczek (U.S.) beat Luke Saville (Australia) 7-6(2) 7-5 6-4
Edouard Roger-Vasselin (France) beat 15-Tommy Robredo (Spain) 2-3 (Robredo retired)
James Duckworth (Australia) beat Blaz Kavcic (Slovenia) 6-2 5-7 7-6(7) 3-6 6-2
3-Rafa Nadal (Spain) beat Mikhail Youzhny (Russia) 6-3 6-2 6-2
7-Tomas Berdych (Czech Republic) beat Alejandro Falla (Colombia) 6-3 7-6(1) 6-3
20-David Goffin (Belgium) beat Michael Russell (U.S.) 6-3 6-3 5-7 6-0
6-Andy Murray (Britain) beat Yuki Bhambri (India) 6-3 6-4 7-6(3)
24-Richard Gasquet (France) beat Carlos Berlocq (Argentina) 6-1 6-3 6-1
14-Kevin Anderson (South Africa) beat Diego Schwartzman (Argentina) 7-6(5) 7-5 5-7 6-4
Marinko Matosevic (Australia) beat Alexander Kudryavtsev (Russia) 6-4 6-7(5) 4-6 7-5 6-3
Lukas Lacko (Slovakia) beat Maximo Gonzalez (Argentina) 4-6 6-2 7-5 6-7(4) 6-1
Ricardas Berankis (Lithuania) beat Igor Sijsling (Netherlands) 2-6 6-4 7-6(2) 6-7(6) 6-4
Andreas Seppi (Italy) beat Denis Istomin (Uzbekistan) 5-7 6-3 2-6 6-1 6-4
29-Jeremy Chardy (France) beat Borna Coric (Croatia) 3-6 6-4 7-5 6-4
Joao Sousa (Portugal) beat Jordan Thompson (Australia) 6-4 7-6(5) 6-4
32-Martin Klizan (Slovakia) beat Tatsuma Ito (Japan) 7-6(6) 6-2 6-4
10-Grigor Dimitrov (Bulgaria) beat Dustin Brown (Germany) 6-2 6-3 6-2
Women's round 1 results
2-Maria Sharapova (Russia) beat Petra Martic (Croatia) 6-4 6-1
Kiki Bertens (Netherlands) beat Daria Gavrilova (Australia) 7-6(8) 5-7 6-2
7-Eugenie Bouchard (Canada) beat Anna-Lena Friedsam (Germany) 6-2 6-4
Carina Witthoeft (Germany) beat 17-Carla Suarez Navarro (Spain) 6-3 6-1
Yaroslava Shvedova (Kazakhstan) beat 16-Lucie Safarova (Czech Republic) 6-4 2-6 8-6
Alexandra Panova (Russia) beat Sorana Cirstea (Romania) 7-5 6-0
Silvia Soler Espinosa (Spain) beat Annika Beck (Germany) 7-5 6-4
Roberta Vinci (Italy) beat Bojana Jovanovski (Serbia) 7-5 6-1
Christina Mchale (U.S.) beat Stephanie Foretz (France) 6-4 1-6 12-10
10-Ekaterina Makarova (Russia) beat An-Sophie Mestach (Belgium) 6-2 6-2
31-Zarina Diyas (Kazakhstan) beat Urszula Radwanska (Poland) 3-6 6-4 6-2
14-Sara Errani (Italy) beat Grace Min (U.S.) 6-1 6-0
Irina Begu (Romania) beat 9-Angelique Kerber (Germany) 6-4 0-6 6-1
Monica Puig (Puerto Rico) beat Arina Rodionova (Australia) 6-0 6-3
Bethanie Mattek-Sands (U.S.) beat Duan Yingying (China) 6-4 3-6 6-3
Yanina Wickmayer (Belgium) beat 23-Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (Russia) 4-6 6-3 6-3
Katerina Siniakova (Czech Republic) beat Elena Vesnina (Russia) 6-2 7-5
Oceane Dodin (France) beat Alison Riske (U.S.) 7-6(5) 3-6 6-3
Stefanie Voegele (Switzerland) beat Pauline Parmentier (France) 6-1 3-6 6-2
Polona Hercog (Slovenia) beat Wang Qiang (China) 3-6 6-3 6-2
22-Karolina Pliskova (Czech Republic) beat Evgeniya Rodina (Russia) 7-5 6-1
Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (Slovakia) beat Chanelle Scheepers (South Africa) 6-4 4-6 6-2
Kristina Mladenovic (France) beat 28-Sabine Lisicki (Germany) 4-6 6-4 6-2
Lucie Hradecka (Czech Republic) beat 5-Ana Ivanovic (Serbia) 1-6 6-3 6-2
Caroline Garcia (France) beat 27-Svetlana Kuznetsova (Russia) 6-4 6-2
21-Peng Shuai (China) beat Tatjana Maria (Germany) 6-4 7-5
Klara Koukalova (Czech Republic) beat Storm Sanders (Australia) 7-5 6-4
Jarmila Gajdosova (Australia) beat Alexandra Dulgheru (Romania) 6-3 6-4
3-Simona Halep (Romania) beat Karin Knapp (Italy) 6-3 6-2
Lara Arruabarrena Vecino (Spain) beat Renata Voracova (Czech Republic) 6-1 6-2
Magdalena Rybarikova (Slovakia) beat Ana Konjuh (Croatia) 6-4 6-4
Julia Goerges (Germany) beat 32-Belinda Bencic (Switzerland) 6-2 6-1
Andy Murray collapses as Novak Djokovic wins fifth Australian Open
Djokovic takes third set against Murray - follow the final LIVE!