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Auger-Aliassime takes 5 sets to defeat Thiem in Australian Open 1st round

Montreal’s Felix Auger-Aliassime outlasted Austria’s Dominic Thiem 6-3, 7-5, 6-7 (5), 5-7, 6-3 on a mixed day for Canadians on Monday at the Australian Open.

Auger-Aliassime, the No. 27 seed, needed four hours 59 minutes to complete the first-round triumph, which ended just before 2 a.m. local time at Melbourne Park.

He stated he was proud of how he regrouped after missing a chance to close out the win in consecutive sets.

“It was a struggle for me but at the end, I didn’t want to fail,” Auger-Aliassime said in an on-court interview. “I didn’t want to disappoint myself with my effort. I didn’t want to have any regrets about leaving this court today.”

Earlier, Denis Shapovalov of Richmond Hill, Ont., and Milos Raonic of Thornhill, Ont., lost their opening matches.

Shapovalov, who missed the second half of last season with a knee injury, dropped a 6-3, 7-5, 7-5 decision to 18-year-old Czech qualifier Jakub Mensik.

Mensik concluded with 12 aces, including three in a row in the final game of the third set.

Raonic lost to 10th-seeded Australian Alex de Minaur when he was forced to retire early in the third set due to injury. De Minaur was leading 6-7 (6), 6-3, 2-0 at the time.

Raonic, a former world No. 3, was playing his 10th tour-level match since returning from a nearly two-year injury layoff.

“I hope Milos has a speedy recovery,” said de Minaur. “It’s not great to see him like this, and he deserves to be healthy and playing the incredible tennis that he has done for so many years. So hopefully he is back in no time.”

Shapovalov and Raonic used their protected ranking to enter the main draw of the first Grand Slam of the season.

Shapovalov had played only one match since July 9, but declared himself fit and ready to compete in Melbourne.

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