Canadian Milos Raonic is out at the Australian Open.
The 22nd seed in the men’s tournament, Raonic was stunned by unseeded Lukas Lacko of Slovakia 6-7 (5), 7-5, 6-4, 7-6 (4) on Tuesday in the first round of the Grand Slam event.
The Thornhill, Ont., product is coming off an injury-filled season that saw his ranking drop to No. 24 from a career-high of No. 3 in 2016.
Raonic missed last year’s U.S. Open after undergoing wrist surgery. He returned to the tour for one tournament in Japan in October, but retired from his quarterfinal match. He has been among the most vocal proponents for shortening the nearly year-long tennis schedule to protect top players from injury.
Raonic is a former Wimbledon finalist and has reached at least the quarterfinals at Melbourne Park the last three years.
It’s only the third time that Raonic has lost in the first round of a major. Raonic also lost in the first round of the 2010 US Open and the 2011 French Open.
Fellow Canadian Denis Shapovalov takes on No. 15 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in a second-round match Tuesday at 7 pm ET.
Maria Sharapova marked her return to the Australian Open with a 6-1, 6-4 win over Germany’s Tatjana Maria in the first round.
The Russian was suspended from the tour for 15 months after testing positive for the drug meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open. She made her return to the tour last April, but didn’t contest her first Grand Slam tournament until the U.S. Open, where she reached the fourth round.
Sharapova, now ranked 48th, is one of two former Australian Open champions in the women’s field, alongside Angelique Kerber. Sharapova won the tournament in 2008 and has reached the final on three other occasions.
“I’ve got shivers,” Sharapova said of playing again at Melbourne Park. “It means a lot to me. I cherish these moments.”
Sharapova could next play 14th-seeded Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia, who beat the Russian at last year’s U.S. Open.
Former champion Angelique Kerber has won her 10th match in a row to start the season, beating fellow German Anna-Lena Friedsam 6-0, 6-4 in the first round.
Kerber, who won the 2016 Australian Open, won four singles matches at the Hopman Cup, then followed that up with five wins en route to the Sydney International title last week.
She needed four break points in the ninth game to take a 5-4 lead, then held service in the next game after Friedsam had saved one match point.
Kerber will celebrate her 30th birthday on Thursday with a second-round match against either Nao Habino or Donna Vekic.
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