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Auger-Aliassime, Fernandez lead Canadians at Australian Open

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

Felix Auger-Aliassime and Leylah Annie Fernandez lead the Canadian contingent at the Australian Open, which is set to begin this Sunday. 

Auger-Aliassime (27) is the only seeded Canadian man at the season’s first Grand Slam. Denis Shapovalov and Milos Raonic have wild-card spots in the main draw.

Fernandez (32) is the lone seeded Canadian woman in the main draw.

Rebecca Marino also qualified for the main draw by defeating fellow Canadian Katherine Sebov in the final round of qualifying. 

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Novak Djokovic will be the No. 1 seed for the men’s draw while Iga Swiatek is the top seed for the women.

Carol Zhao was unable to qualify for the main draw, falling 6-3, 6-1 to Katie Volynets in the second round of qualifying. 

Gabriel Diallo also failed to qualify for the main draw, losing to David Goffin in the final round of qualfying 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.

Felix Auger-Aliassime

Auger-Aliassime will take on Dominic Thiem in the first round. The Austrian won the only career head-to-head matchup between the two, when they faced off at the US Open in 2020.

If he were to advance to the third round, Auger-Aliassime faces a potential matchup with No. 3 Daniil Medvedev. 

Auger-Aliassime looks to bounce back from a tough 2023 that saw his world rank drop from No. 6 to No. 29 by season's end.

The Montreal native struggled with injury and inconsistency throughout the season, at one point going nearly seven months without consecutive wins on the ATP Tour. He captured his fifth career title late in the season, defeating Hubert Hurkacz to defend his championship at the Swiss Indoors.

The 23-year-old reached the fourth round at the Australian Open last season before falling to Jiri Lehecka in four sets.

Leylah Annie Fernandez

Fernandez will take on qualifier Sara Bejlek in the first round as she looks to build on a strong finish to the 2023 season. A potential third-round matchup against 2023 US Open winner Coco Gauff looms if Fernandez is able to win her first two matches. 

Fernandez ended last season by leading Canada to its first ever Billie Jean King Cup, winning four singles matches and one doubles match. She also earned her first win over a top-10 opponent since 2021, defeating Marketa Vondrousova.

The 21-year-old had an up-and-down year that saw her singles rank drop from No. 35 to a season-low of No. 96 in late June.

Fernandez bounced back in the latter half of the season, winning her first title of the season at the Hong Kong Tennis Open, while reaching her first 1000-level event quarter-final at the Guadalajara Open.

The Montreal native and partner Taylor Townsend reached the final at Roland-Garros, and the pair will enter the 2024 season as the 21st-ranked tandem. 

Fernandez won her first ever match at the Australian open last year, beating Alize Cornet in the first round before dropping her second-round match to Caroline Garcia.

Denis Shapovalov

Shapovalov will play in his first Grand Slam since last year’s Wimbledon and will face qualifier Jakub Mensik in the first round. A first-round win would put him in a potential second-round matchup with No. 9 Hubert Hurkacz.

The 24-year-old returned from a knee injury that sidelined him for most of last season last week at the ASB classic, losing in the first round to Sebastian Ofner. 

Shapovalov had a difficult 2023, as he saw his world rank fall from No. 18 to No. 109 by the end of the season. He begins 2024 as the world No. 116. 

Milos Raonic

The veteran will return for his 12th appearance, and first since 2021, at the Australian Open to take on No. 10 Alex de Minaur in the first round. 

Raonic, the world No. 317, returned to the tour for the first time in two years last season, reaching the third round at the National Bank Open in Toronto and the second round at Wimbledon.

Rebecca Marino

Marino qualified for her sixth Australian Open main draw on Thursday in a walkover after Sebov retired due to a wrist injury.

The Vancouver native has never advanced past the second round of the event. Her first-round match will take place Sunday night against No. 5 seed Jessica Pegula. 

Marino fell in the first round in last year's tournament to Zhu Lin 6-2, 6-4.

Gabriela Dabrowski

Dabrowski and partner Erin Routliffe look to build off a strong 2023 season after they became Canada's first Grand Slam Doubles champions with a win at the US Open.