No Canada: Auger-Aliassime, Raonic eliminated at Australian Open

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MELBOURNE, Australia — All Canadian singles players are out of the Australian Open after Felix Auger-Aliassime and Milos Raonic suffered losses in the round of 16 on Sunday.

The 20th-seeded Auger-Aliassime dropped a 3-6, 1-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 decision to Russian qualifier Aslan Karatsev. Later in the day, top-seeded Novak Djokovic of Serbia beat the 14th-seeded Raonic 7-6 (4), 4-6, 6-1, 6-4.

Auger-Aliassime, from Montreal, blew a two-set lead and a chance to advance to the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam for the first time in his career.

"He played good," Auger-Aliassime said. "Of course, I wish I could've served better. But I can't just snap my fingers and it just happens. I got to be just a better player overall to overcome these situations."

Raonic, from Thornhill, Ont., fell to 0-12 for his career against Djokovic.

Djokovic said he tore a muscle after a fall in his previous match, a five-set victory over Taylor Fritz. He then said he wasn't sure if he could play against Raonic, but he managed to overcome any problems to win his 300th career Grand Slam match.

Five other Canadians - Vasek Pospisil, Denis Shapovalov, Leylah Fernandez, Rebecca Marino and Bianca Andreescu - were eliminated from singles play earlier in the week.

"It's really a shame that I couldn't get through today," Auger-Aliassime said. "It's difficult to swallow but it's tennis. That's how it is. That's life."

Karatsev, ranked 114th in the world, upset No. 8 seed Diego Schwartzman of Argentina to reach the fourth round of the tournament.

Auger-Aliassime was cruising through the first two sets.

Partway through the opener, Auger-Aliassime fought off three break points and took the game for a 5-2 lead, eventually taking the set in 39 minutes. The second set lasted just 29 minutes.

The Canadian had 10 unforced errors in the third set alone, dropping his first set of the week. Karatsev remained steady to set up a decider - the first time that either player had played a five-set match.

Karatsev earned a break for a 2-1 lead and didn't trail again from there.

"The positive thing is, mentally, I stayed positive," Auger-Aliassime said. "I believed until the end. Even when I was down in the fifth set I still tried, I still believed."

Djokovic, meanwhile, wore tape above his right hip and said his injury was "kind of on and off" during the match. Raonic had his right ankle re-taped during a medical timeout in the second set.

"I was just trying to use my serve accurately and try to go through my service games with as less of an effort as possible," Djokovic said.

Raonic had a 26-10 edge in aces but finished with 35 unforced errors, 10 more than Djokovic.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 13, 2021.

The Canadian Press