Australian Open: Bouchard ousted by top-seeded Halep

Three of Canada's top tennis stars have now been eliminated from the Australian Open tennis tournament. The latest was unseeded Eugenie Bouchard of Westmount, Que., who fell to top-seeded Simona Halep.

Westmount, Que., native joins Raonic, Shapovalov on the sidelines

Eugenie Bouchard's Australian Open ended Thursday with a straight-sets loss to top-seeded Simona Halep. (Andy Brownbill/Associated Press)

Three of Canada's top tennis stars have now been eliminated from the Australian Open tennis tournament.

The latest was unseeded Eugenie Bouchard of Westmount, Que., who fell to top-seeded Simona Halep of Romania 6-2, 6-2 in their second round match in Melbourne on Thursday. Halep next plays Lauren Davis.

Halep's gained some revenge from the last — and only — time the pair met in a Grand Slam tournament. At Wimbledon in 2014, Bouchard defeated Halep in the semifinals before advancing to the final, where she lost to Petra Kvitova.

On Tuesday, 22nd seed Milos Raonic was stunned by unseeded Lukas Lacko of Slovakia in four sets in the opening round.

The Thornhill, Ont., resident, who is coming off an injury-filled season, had reached at least the quarterfinals in Melbourne Park the last three years.

Denis Shapovalov is also leaving Melbourne empty-handed. He lost to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the second round of their match on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Vancouver's Vasek Pospisil and American Ryan Harrison lost their first-round match against Rohan Bopanna Edouard Roger-Vasselin 6-2, 7-6 (5).

Pickering, Ont., native Adil Shamasdin and his partner Neal Skupski of the United Kingdom were also ousted by their first-round opponents Marcus Daniell and Dominic Inglot 6-4, 2-6, 6-3. 

In women's doubles, fellow Canadian Gabriela Dabrowski and her partner Yifan Xu of China advanced to the second round with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Kirsten Flipkens and Francesca Schiavone.

'Brutal' heat on Thursday

Stan Wawrinka left it as late as possible before deciding his knee might just be good enough to get him through the Australian Open.

The 2014 champion was being way too ambitious. A 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 loss to No. 97-ranked Tennys Sandgren in the second round was his earliest exit in a decade at Melbourne Park.

"I only had surgery five months ago," said Wawrinka, who still has a visible scar running down his left knee. "To be that far already, it's more than what we could have expected."

On a searing hot day at Melbourne Park when the temperature hit 40 Celsius (104 Fahrenheit), No. 9 Wawrinka, No. 7 David Goffin and No. 13 Sam Querrey were the three seeded players to fall in the men's draw.

Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza was among the five seeded women to lose on Day 4. Blisters from the hot court surface didn't help her in a 7-6 (1), 6-4 loss to No. 88-ranked Hsieh Su-wei, who has been No. 1 in doubles but had a career-high ranking of 23rd in singles.

Garbine Muguruza of Spain shows her frustration in her second-round match against Su-Wei Hsieh of Taipei on day four of the 2018 Australian Open. (Clive Brunskill / Getty Images)

Six-time champion Novak Djokovic survived the round, but complained of the "brutal" heat in a comeback four-set win over an ailing Gael Monfils 4-6, 6-3, 6-1, 6-3 that extended his record to 15-0 in their career head-to-heads.

Djokovic, who won five of the six titles from 2011-2016, is a step closer to a possible meeting with fourth-seeded Alexander Zverev, who had a 6-1, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 win over Gojowczyk.

The temperature had dropped to 29 C (84 F) by the time defending champion Roger Federer wrapped up his 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 (4) win over Jan-Lennard Struff just after 11:30 p.m. on Rod Laver Arena. The forecast is for hotter weather on Friday.

Sharapova, Kerber continue

That left only Maria Sharapova, Aneglique Kerber and French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko as Grand Slam winners in the women's draw.

Sharapova and Kerber will meet in the third round, meaning only one of the remaining Australian Open winners can reach the second week.

Sharapova beat No. 14-seeded Anastasija Sevastova 6-1, 7-6 (4) to avenge a fourth-round loss in last year's U.S. Open, the five-time major winner's first Grand Slam after returning from a 15-month doping ban.

Maria Sharapova celebrates her win over Anastasija Sevastova in their second round match at the Australian Open on Thursday. (Vincent Thian / The Associated Press)

Kerber, the 2016 champion, had a 6-4, 6-1 win over Donna Vekic before the Margaret Court Arena crowd sang "Happy Birthday" to celebrate her 30th birthday.

"Happy to be playing tennis again like 2016," said Kerber, who has won 11 straight matches.

Ninth-seeded Johanna Konta lost in straight sets to U.S. lucky loser Bernarda Pera, who is ranked No. 123-ranked and making her Grand Slam debut. She didn't even know she had a spot in the main draw until another player withdrew on Monday. Pera next plays No. 20 Barbora Strycova.

Bernarda Pera of the U.S. celebrates her victory during her women's singles second round match against Britain's Johanna Konta on day four of the Australian Open tennis tournament. (Greg Wood / AFP / Getty Images)

U.S. Open finalist Madison Keys opened with four straight aces and won the first 11 games in a 6-0, 6-1 win over No. 92-ranked Ekaterina Alexandrova.

Also advancing were No. 6 Karolina Pliskova, No. 8 Caroline Garcia, No. 26 Agnieszka Radwanska, No. 28 Ash Barty and No. 29 Lucie Safarova.

Among the leading men advancing were 2009 U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro, No. 19 Tomas Berdych, No. 21 Albert Ramos and No. 5 Dominic Thiem, who rallied to beat 190th-ranked American qualifier Denis Kudla 6-7 (6), 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-3.

With files from CBC Sports


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