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Sock Makes Early Exit; Cilic Advances In Melbourne

Jack Sock suffered a shock exit at the Australian Open on Monday as Yuichi Sugita booked his place in the second round 6-1, 7-6(4), 5-7, 6-3.

Competing as the first American top-eight seed at a Grand Slam championship since Mardy Fish (Australian Open 2012), Sock struggled to reach the heights which saw him triumph at the Rolex Paris Masters in November 2017.

Jack Sock crashes out of the Australian Open after first-round loss to Yuichi Sugita on Monday.
Sugita looked impressive throughout with a 75 and 60 per cent success rate on points behind his first and second serves respectively as he recorded his first career Top 10 win (1-5 lifetime). The Japanese No. 2 has now reached the second round at three consecutive Grand Slam events and will face Ivo Karlovic, who dispatched on Laslo Djere 7-6(3), 6-3, 7-6(2).

Marin Cilic managed to avoid the same fate as Sock as he survived an opening day test to beat qualifier Vasek Pospisil 6-2, 6-2, 4-6, 7-6(5).

Sixth seed Cilic appeared to be cruising after securing the first two sets for the loss of four games but Pospisil, a Grand Slam doubles champion, increased his level on serve with an 83 per cent success rate behind his first delivery in the third to push the match into a fourth set.

The fourth set would see Cilic, competing at his 10th Australian Open, dominate the winner count 17 to five, despite his opponent finding even more success behind his first serve. The Croatian would miss out on four match point opportunities at 5-3 and 5-4, before eventually sealing his spot in the second round on his seventh match point in the tie-break. The 2010 semi-finalist now challenges Portugal's Joao Sousa, a 6-4, 6-3, 4-6, 6-7(4), 6-1 victor over German qualifier Dustin Brown.

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