Shapovalov’s clay-court campaign begins with first-round loss

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MONACO — Denis Shapovalov’s clay-court campaign got off to a poor start as he lost 5-7, 6-3, 6-1 to Jan-Lennard Struff in the first round of the Monte Carlo Masters on Monday.

The 20-year-old Shapovalov arrived after a good run on hard courts at the Miami Open, where he lost to Roger Federer in the semifinals.

But the Monte Carlo clay got the better of the big-hitting Canadian, seeded 15th. The unseeded German picked apart his serve, converting six of 16 break points.

Struff next faces Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria, who lost in the semifinals to Rafael Nadal last year.

Nadal, the defending champion, starts his bid for a record-extending 12th title on Wednesday against fellow Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut, who won 3-6, 6-1, 6-1 against John Millman on Monday.

Nadal has not played since pulling out of his semifinal against Federer at Indian Wells last month because of an injury to his right knee. Nadal said Monday he resumed practice two weeks ago and feels fit.

Top-ranked Novak Djokovic faces unseeded Philipp Kohlschreiber in the second round on Tuesday. Djokovic has won eight of their 10 matches, but Kohlschreiber recently beat him at Indian Wells.

Also on Monday, 10th-seeded Daniil Medvedev; No. 11 Marco Cecchinato; No. 13 Fabio Fognini, and No. 16 David Goffin advanced, but No. 12 Nikoloz Basilashvili went out.

Medvedev did not face a break point in a 6-1, 6-1 win against Joao Sousa. Cecchinato, a French Open semifinalist last year, was leading 4-0 when Damir Dzumhur pulled out.

Goffin won 6-1, 6-4 against qualifier Guido Andreozzi, but Fognini had a tougher match.

The hot-tempered Italian player had the crowd on his side as he rallied to a 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 win against unseeded Russian Andrey Rublev.

Basilashvili lost 7-5, 3-6, 6-1 to Hungarian Marton Fucsovics.

Other unseeded first-round winners Monday: Kohlschreiber; Radu Albot; Martin Klizan; Mikhail Kukushkin; Lorenzo Sonego; Jaume Munar and Dusan Lajovic.

Novak Djokovic to start 2023 in Adelaide ahead of Australian Open

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MELBOURNE, Australia – Novak Djokovic will open his 2023 campaign in Adelaide as he prepares for a shot at a 10th Australian Open crown a year after having his visa revoked on the eve of his title defense.

The 21-time major winner has been granted a visa by the Australian government and has been listed to play at the Adelaide International, which starts Jan. 1.

Serbia isn’t contesting the inaugural United Cup team competition, leaving Djokovic free to play regular warmup tournaments head of the Jan. 16-29 Australian Open.

He’ll be joined in the men’s draw at Adelaide by Russians Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev, Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada and Andy Murray.

Ons Jabeur, Aryna Sabalenka will headline the women’s draw.

Immigration Minister Andrew Giles last month confirmed Djokovic had been granted a visa to compete in Australia in January. The 35-year-old Serbian had been facing a possible three-year ban after being deported last January over his stance against COVID-19 vaccination.

Djokovic has won the Australian Open a record nine times, including the last three times he played. Rafael Nadal won this year’s title in Djokovic’s absence.

Djokovic was not vaccinated against COVID-19 when he arrived in Melbourne ahead of the 2022 tournament, but Australia has since lifted strict rules for unvaccinated travelers.

Karolina Pliskova reuniting with Sascha Bajin

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Two-time Grand Slam finalist Karolina Pliskova is reuniting with coach Sascha Bajin ahead of the 2023 season.

Pliskova posted on her website and her Twitter account about the move, which comes about six months after she and Bajin stopped working together. The pair originally teamed up in November 2020.

While Bajin was her coach, Pliskova reached the final at Wimbledon in 2021 before losing to champion Ash Barty. Pliskova also was the runner-up at the 2016 U.S. Open, where she defeated Serena Williams in the semifinals before being beat by Angelique Kerber for the trophy.

After splitting from Bajin in July, Pliskova was coached by Leos Friedl. Their results together included a quarterfinal run at the U.S. Open.

Bajin has worked as a coach or hitting partner with several top tennis players, including Grand Slam title winners Williams, Naomi Osaka, Victoria Azarenka and Caroline Wozniacki.

“Thank you for having me back,” Bajin wrote on Twitter. “Let’s go get it.”

Pliskova is a 30-year-old from the Czech Republic who reached No. 1 in the WTA rankings in 2017 and finished this season at No. 31 after going 21-21 with no titles.

Her team also includes fitness specialist Jez Green and physiotherapist Martin Salvador.

Next year’s first Grand Slam tournament, the Australian Open, begins Jan. 16.