Vekic defeats Sharapova in Melbourne clash

JOHN DONEGAN / AFP

Former world number one Maria Sharapova has been eliminated from the Australian Open in the first round.

She was defeated by No.19 seed Donna Vekic 6-3, 6-4 at Melbourne Park.

The 32-year-old, who has been hit by a string of injuries, including surgery on a shoulder problem, will drop to No 366 in the world rankings following her Australian Open exit.

"As tough as it was, I finished the match and, yeah, it wasn't the way that I wanted," Sharapova said after the match.

Meanwhile, British players Johanna Konta and Kyle Edmund also suffered early exits.

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