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Auger-Aliassime advances, Shapovalov ousted at Australian Open

Felix Auger-Aliassime Felix Auger-Aliassime - The Canadian Press

MELBOURNE, Australia — Montreal's Felix Auger-Aliassime outlasted Austria's Dominic Thiem 6-3, 7-5, 6-7 (5), 5-7, 6-3 on a mixed day for Canadians on Monday at the Australian Open.

Auger-Aliassime, the No. 27 seed, needed four hours 59 minutes to complete the first-round victory, which ended just before 2 a.m. local time at Melbourne Park.

He said he was proud of how he regrouped after missing a chance to close out the win in straight sets.

"It was a struggle for me but at the end, I didn't want to fail," Auger-Aliassime said in an on-court interview. "I didn't want to disappoint myself with my effort. I didn't want to have any regrets about leaving this court today."

Earlier, Denis Shapovalov of Richmond Hill, Ont., and Milos Raonic of Thornhill, Ont., lost their opening matches.

Shapovalov, who missed the second half of last season with a knee injury, dropped a 6-3, 7-5, 7-5 decision to 18-year-old Czech qualifier Jakub Mensik.

Mensik finished with 12 aces, including three in a row in the final game of the third set.

Raonic lost to 10th-seeded Australian Alex de Minaur when he was forced to retire early in the third set due to injury. De Minaur was leading 6-7 (6), 6-3, 2-0 at the time.

Raonic, a former world No. 3, was playing his 10th tour-level match since returning from a nearly two-year injury layoff.

“I hope Milos has a speedy recovery,” said de Minaur. “It’s not great to see him like this, and he deserves to be healthy and playing the incredible tennis that he has done for so many years. So hopefully he is back in no time."

Shapovalov and Raonic used their protected ranking to enter the main draw of the first Grand Slam of the season.

In women's singles, qualifier Rebecca Marino of Vancouver was scheduled to play fifth-seeded American Jessica Pegula in first-round play Tuesday.

Leylah Fernandez of Laval, Que., the No. 32 seed, won her opening match over the weekend and will next play American Alycia Parks.

In women's doubles, the fourth-seeded duo of Ottawa's Gabriela Dabrowski and New Zealand's Erin Routliffe have drawn Argentina's Nadia Podoroska and Egypt's Mayar Sherif for their opening match.

Dabrowski and Routliffe — a dual citizen who grew up near Toronto and lives in Montreal — won the U.S. Open last year.

Rob Shaw is the lone Canadian wheelchair tennis player in the field. The North Bay, Ont., native competes in the quad division for players with varying levels of upper and lower limb impairment.

Regina's Keegan Rice is entered in the junior competition.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 14, 2024.