Leylah Fernandez runs to a ball during her first match at the Australian Open. Felix Auger-Aliassime also won his match.

Photo : Martin Sidorjak

With the Australian Open so early in the tennis year, the schedule wastes little time in upping the intensity and Leylah Annie Fernandez and Felix Auger-Aliassime are here for it. 

First-round action is already underway at the first Grand Slam of the year and the top Canadians have impressed, albeit in very different opening matches. 

Here’s what you need to know. 

In Case You Missed It: Difficult 2024 Debuts for Auger-Aliassime, Shapovalov 

Both Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov got their 2024 seasons underway properly last week at the ATP 250 event in Auckland, but it was not the start that either man was hoping for. Both lost their opening match in straight sets. 

Shapovalov was playing his first match since the round of 16 at Wimbledon, where he suffered what turned out to be a season-ending knee injury. He lost in the first round to seventh seed Sebastian Ofner 6-4, 6-2. 

Auger-Aliassime was playing his first singles match of the year, having played mixed doubles at the United Cup the previous week. He had a bye but lost in round two to Daniel Altmeier 7-6(9), 7-5 in his first singles match since the Paris Masters last fall. 

Five Canadians competed in Australian Open qualifying last week but only one, Rebecca Marino, was able to come through and reach the main draw. Marino got in after Katherine Sebov retired from their all-Canadian clash in the final round. 

Gabriel Diallo lost in three sets in the last round of qualies to David Goffin. Carol Zhao went out in round two, while Stacey Fung was beaten in her first-round match. 

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What to Watch: Australian Open Underway 

Five Canadians are competing in the singles competition at the season’s first major. Four have played their opening matches with divided results. 

Leylah Annie Fernandez was the first Canadian on court in Melbourne and the first to advance, beating Sarah Bejlek in straight sets. The 32nd seed plays Alycia Parks next with No. 4 Coco Gauff potentially waiting in the third round

All the Canadian men competed on Monday, but only Felix Auger-Aliassime lived to fight another day, and only by the skin of his teeth. 

Read Also: Australian Open Men’s Power Rankings

In the longest match of his career, the 2022 Australian Open quarter-finalist narrowly avoided losing from two sets up for the third time in four years in Melbourne, hanging on to defeat 2020 US Open champion Dominic Thiem in five sets. The match finished one minute shy of five hours. 

Next up for the Canadian No. 1 is qualifier Hugo Grenier. A rematch of the epic 2022 quarter-final with Daniil Medvedev looms in round three

Milos Raonic was featured on Rod Laver Arena and put up a good fight against No. 10 seed Alex de Minaur, taking the opening set. But a hip injury derailed the former Australian Open semifinalist and he retired in the third set.  

Denis Shapovalov lost in straight sets to qualifier Jakub Mensik in straight sets. 

Read Also: Australian Open Women’s Power Rankings

Rebecca Marino will play her first-round match on Tuesday against fifth seed Jessica Pegula. 

Gabriela Dabrowski is the lone Canadian competing in doubles. She and Erin Routliffe are seeded fourth and will open against Nadia Podoroska and Mayar Sherif. 

The US Open champions are in the same quarter as eighth seeds Beatriz Haddad Maia and Taylor Townsend and are in the top half of the draw with top seeds Pegula and Coco Gauff. 

Under the Radar:  

The best Canadian result on the ITF circuit last week was Layne Sleeth reaching the quarter-finals of the W35 event in Naples. 

This week, Carson Branstine returns to Monastir, Tunisia on the ITF circuit, where she won two titles last November. There is a large contingent of Canadian men competing at the ITF M25 in Ithica, New York, as well as a group of Canadian wheelchair tennis players at an ITF event in Arizona. 

Vasek Pospisil will kick off his season on the ATP Challenger Tour this week at an event California. 

You can follow the Canadians in action every week here.