Nineteenth seed Donna Vekic ousted former Australian Open champion, Maria Sharapova, in the first round on Tuesday, at Melbourne Park. This was the Croatian’s first win over the Russian which she did in straight sets 6-3, 6-4 in 81 minutes.
Vekic dictated the game throughout the first set leaving the former world no. 1 hapless on the other side of the net. The second set was a different story altogether. Two doubles faults in the fourth game of the second set saw her go down a break.
Sharapova, who struggled with her own serve because of her shoulder injury, did well to consolidate the break and take a 4-1 lead. Two games later, her poor serve returned to throttle her chances in the set – and in the match – as she lost her lead, and handed the break back to Vekic.
Another break in the ninth game gave Vekic the opportunity to close out the match in the 10th game. While Sharapova continued to fight to tilt the balance of the match again, an unforced error ended it all for her. The 23-year-old hit four double faults to Sharapova’s five.
All four came in the second set. Vekic also hit 18 winners to Sharapova’s 19 but had fewer unforced errors – only 17 to the Russian’s 31. Vekic finished the match with 57 points to her opponent’s 50. Sharapova, who is currently ranked 145th, received a wild card to play at the 2020 Australian Open.
In 2019, she had reached the fourth round and with her being unable to defend her round-of-16 points, she will drop down to the 300s in the WTA rankings. Photo Credit: ESPN Australia and New Zealand Twitter