Wildcard Maria Sharapova Crashes Out in First Round of Aus Open

Maria Sharapova has been knocked out in the opening round of the 2020 Australian Open.

Updated21 Jan 2020, 04:54 AM IST
Tennis
2 min read
Snapshot
  • Maria Sharapova has been knocked out in the opening round of the 2020 Australian Open.
  • Croatia’s Donna Vekic defeated Sharapova 6-3 6-4.
  • Maria was playing on a wild card after she finished 2019 ranked 136.

Maria Sharapova hasn't won a tournament since 2017, and her ranking slipped to 136th by the end of last year.

After a 6-3, 6-4 loss to 19th-seeded Donna Vekic at the Australian Open on Tuesday, former No. 1-ranked Sharapova is on a run of three first-round exits at Grand Slam events.

The five-time major winner got into the main draw at Melbourne Park via a wild card granted by organizers, helped by the fact she won the 2008 title here. Drawing Vekic in the first round was tough.

Croatia’s Donna Vekic celebrates after defeating Russia’s Maria Sharapova in their first round singles match at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020.
Croatia’s Donna Vekic celebrates after defeating Russia’s Maria Sharapova in their first round singles match at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020.
(Photo: AP)
“I’m really happy to win today. I always enjoy playing the big stages, and this one is pretty big! I enjoyed my time on this court from the first point, and I’m happy to leave with a win this time.”
Donna Vekic

The 32-year-old Russian has had a series of right shoulder injuries and also served a 15-month suspension for a positive doping test to meldonium. Since her return from the suspension, her best showing at a major has been the quarterfinals at the 2018 French Open.

She wasn't making any excuses.

“I mean, I think I'm not the only one — I can speak about my struggles and the things that I've gone through with my shoulder, but it's not really in my character to," Sharapova said.

She reached the fourth round in Australia last year, and her profile means she still gets a spot on center court. It was only Vekic's second time on Rod Laver Arena.

“Ï always enjoy the big stages,” Vekic said. “I'm happy to leave with a win this time.”

Liked this story? We'll send you more. Subscribe to The Quint's newsletter and get selected stories delivered to your inbox every day. Click to get started.

The Quint is available on Telegram & WhatsApp too, click to join.

Published: 21 Jan 2020, 04:03 AM IST
Stay Updated

Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.

Join over 120,000 subscribers!