World No.20 Donna Vekic eliminated 2008 champion Maria Sharapova in the first round of the 2020 Australian Open on Tuesday, as the struggling Russian has suffered her earliest exit in Melbourne since 2010 and has now fell in the first round in her past three majors.
Playing only her second match since September’s US Open because of a shoulder injury, Sharapova quickly found herself trailing 5-1 against the 19th-seeded Vekic and even though the Russian won two straight games, her opponent withstood the pressure and won the first set. In the second set it was Vekic who came back from behind, but the Croat went all the way, recovering from a 4-1 deficit by winning five straight games to secure a 6-3 6-4 victory.
The former world No.1 Sharapova, currently as low as 145 in the rankings, was awarded a wildcard by the organizers, but when asked whether this was her last appearance at the Aussie Open, the five-time Grand Slam champ just shrugged: “I don’t know. I don’t know.”
After rain messed up the opening day’s schedule, Tuesday was super busy at Melbourne Park. Seeds mostly enjoyed good results, including Karolina Pliskova, Simona Halep, Elina Svitolina, Belinda Bencic, Kiki Bertens, Madison Keys, Alison Riske, Dayana Yastremska, and Maria Sakkari who all progressed into the second round.
I think Maria needs to build her confident slowly, she has to start playing 125K tournaments and enter qualifying rounds, get herself some win against lower ranked players to bring her confidence back!
Her serve used to be the major cause of her struggles in the past, but today her groundstroke accuracy are even worst than her double faults.
Bring her father back as a coach is a good option too!
She lost today, but at least she lost in style. She looked marvelous in her red dress, almost as marvelous as her ’07 USO night dress!