Sharapova suffered more disappointment in Melbourne (PA Images)
21 January 2020

Maria Sharapova loses in Grand Slam first round for third successive time as Russian is dumped out of Australian Open by Donna Vekic

Maria Sharapova suffered a third successive first round exit in a Grand Slam as she was knocked out of the Australian Open 6-3 6-4 by world No. 19 Donna Vekic.

The five-time Grand Slam champion failed to get going as she lost five of the first six games in a sluggish first set.

Sharapova then recovered somewhat at the start of the second as she broke Vekic and threatened to send the match to a decider.

But the 2008 Melbourne champion then capitulated once more as her opponent broke twice to claim a straight sets victory.

The defeat means Sharapova is set to slip out of the top 350 in the world, but she failed to confirm whether or not it will be her final appearance at the Australian Open.

"I don't know. I don't know", she said.

"I was fortunate to get myself to be here and thanks to [the organisers for] allowing me to be part of this event.

"It's tough for me to tell what's going to happen in 12 months' time."

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