Sport Tennis Matosevic gallant, but out in first round
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Matosevic gallant, but out in first round

Marinko Matosevic
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Australia’s Marinko Matosevic was gallant in his first-round Australian Open defeat to Japanese 16th seed Kei Nishikori, going down in a five-set marathon.

Matosevic extended his winless run at grand slam level to 12 matches, having never won a main draw match, with three of those in five-setters.

In a battle of attrition lasting three hours and 41 minutes on a sweltering hot day at Melbourne Park, Matosevic, 28, lost 6-3 5-7 6-2 4-6 6-2.

Matosevic is now winless in a dozen singles matches in majors dating back to the 2010 Australian Open.

Several times throughout Tuesday’s match, Nishikori looked to be affected by the extreme heat, but he was able to keep his cool when it mattered most in the fifth set.

Matosevic was also docked a point for a time violation at an important stage of the third set, allowing Nishikori to claim a 5-2 lead.

Fellow Australian Storm Sanders also let a golden winning opportunity slip on her grand slam debut, losing 4-6 6-1 6-4 to Italian Camila Giorgi.

Sanders, 19, led 4-2 in the deciding set before Giorgi stepped up to claim the last four games.

“She’s a good player, she made the fourth round at the US Open,” said Sanders.

“It was tough, it was hot, the wind was swirling and she doesn’t give you much rhythm.

“Obviously I’m disappointed but she played well and I just couldn’t get across the line.

“I wouldn’t say it’s a an opportunity lost.

“I went out there and gave it 100 per cent and probably missed a few chances, but she played well in the end.”

Australian James Duckworth went down 6-4 6-4 6-2 to 17-time major winner Roger Federer.

Towering American 13th seed John Isner succumbed to Slovakian lucky loser Martin Klizan and a foot injury to crash out of the Australian Open.

Isner lost the opening two sets in his first round match against the world No.106 when he pulled the pin on Tuesday’s contest in searing heat.

Klizan, 24, had lost in straight sets to Austrian Dominic Thiem in the final round of qualifying but gained a place in the main draw of the tournament because Nicolas Almagro pulled out injured.