Maria Sharapova to drop out of world top 350 after suffering Australian Open first-round exit

Maria Sharapova disappointed

Maria Sharapova’s woes continued in Melbourne as she was dumped out of the Australian Open in the first round by Donna Vekic.

Sharapova spent much of 2019 out injured with a recurring shoulder complaint, and her ranking has taken such a pummelling in the meantime she needed a wildcard to even get into the Australian Open.

It didn’t get any better for her once the tournament began either, with Vekic overcoming her with relative ease in straight sets 6-3, 6-4.

It was Sharapova’s third first-round exit at a Grand Slam in succession, and the first time she has ever fell at the first hurdle at the Australian Open.

Its the latest in a long line of blows for the Russian, who was hit with a 15-month drugs ban in 2016 and has struggled for fitness and form since.

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The 32-year-old will now drop out of the top 350 in the world as a result of the defeat.

Elsewhere in Melbourne, there were no similar worries for tenth seed Madison Keys, who easily overcame Daria Kasatkina 6-3, 6-1 in her opener.

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