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Canadians fall short at Australian Open

Felix Auger-Aliassime Felix Auger-Aliassime

No Canadians will be featured in the final weekend at the Australian Open at Melbourne Park. 

Five Canadians entered the main singles draw in the year’s first Grand Slam, but none made it past the third round, while one Canadian nearly made her second consecutive major doubles final.

Felix-Auger Aliassime

Auger-Aliassime entered the tournament ranked No. 30 in the world, looking to bounce back following a difficult 2023 season.

The Montreal native navigated through a difficult five-set victory (6-3, 7-5, 6-7, 5-7, 6-3) over Dominic Thiem in the first round, before easing to the third round with a four-set win (6-1, 3-6, 6-1, 6-2) over Hugo Grenier in the second round.

The 23-year-old would advance no further, as he was eliminated in straight sets (6-3, 6-4, 6-3) by No. 3 Daniil Medvedev in the third round. Auger-Aliassime committed 43 unforced errors and was broken five times in the match. Auger-Aliassime has never beaten Medvedev head-to-head in seven matches.

This was the best Grand Slam result for Auger-Aliassime since last year’s Australian Open when he reached the fourth round. He was eliminated in the first round of his other three Grand Slam entries.

Auger-Aliassime is projected to retain his world rank of No. 30.

Leylah Annie Fernandez

Fernandez reached the second round in Melbourne Park for the second straight year but was unable to get past Alycia Parks in her quest to reach the third round for the first time, falling 7-5, 6-4.

The Laval, Que., native opened a three-game lead in the first set, but was unable to close, allowing Parks to come back for the straight-sets win. Fernandez was unable to take advantage of Parks committing 39 unforced errors, committing 18 of her own while winning just 63 per cent of her first serve points.

She defeated qualifier Sara Bejlek 7-6, 6-2 in the first round.

Fernandez has now failed to advance past the second round at each Grand Slam since reaching the quarter-final at Roland-Garros in 2022, a run of six straight Grand Slam appearances.

The 21-year-old entered the tournament ranked No. 35 in the world and is currently projected to fall two spots to No. 37 following the second-round exit.

Gabriela Dabrowski

Ottawa’s Dabrowski and partner Erin Routliffe entered the Australian Open looking to win their second consecutive Grand Slam after capturing the US Open women’s doubles title last season.

The pair dropped just one set over the first four rounds en route to the semifinal where they faced off with Lyudmyla Kichenok and Jelena Ostapenko.

Dabrowski and Routliffe, a dual citizen who represents New Zealand internationally but resides in Montreal, were unable to reach the final, falling in straight sets 7-5, 7-5 on Friday. It was a missed opportunity, as they led 5-3 in both sets before dropping four straight games each time.

Dabrowski entered the tournament ranked No. 7 on the doubles circuit, and Routliffe at No. 9. With the semifinal appearance, they are projected to see their world rank jump to No. 5 and 6, respectively.

Denis Shapovalov

Shapovalov was unable to reach the third round in Melbourne for a fourth consecutive year, falling to 18-year-old qualifier Jakub Mensik in the first round 6-3, 7-5, 7-5. 

The Richmond Hill., Ont., native was playing just his second match since Wimbledon as he continues to recover from a knee injury. 

The 24-year-old will likely see a significant drop in his rank of No. 114 following the first-round exit.

Rebecca Marino

Marino dropped her first-round matchup to No. 5 seed Jessica Pegula 6-2, 6-4. The 33-year-old struggled with her serve, winning just 57 per cent of her first serve points. 

The Vancouver native qualified for her sixth Australian Open main draw by defeating fellow Canadian Katherine Sebov in the final of the qualifying bracket.

Marino entered the tournament ranked No. 182 on the WTA circuit and is projected to see a sizable jump to No. 166 after qualifying for the main draw.

Milos Raonic

Raonic also dropped his opening-round matchup, losing to No. 10 Alex de Minaur after the Thornhill, Ont., native was forced to retire early due to a wrist injury. De Minaur was leading 6-7, 6-3, 2-0 at the time. 

Raonic was playing in his 10th tour-level match following a two-year injury layoff. 

The 33-year-old entered the tournament ranked No. 319 in the world.