Sharapova Wins First Round at Australia Open Despite Traumatic Start of Season


The third seed won her maiden Slam at Melbourne Park previous year and is bidding to become the first woman to defend the title since Victoria Azarenka in 2013.

The 22-year-old Dart had a game point on her serve in the eighth game of the match, but Sharapova rallied to break the British player and continue the rout.

Asked if she felt sorry for her young, beaten rival, Sharapova, who lost in the first round at Wimbledon past year, said: "There's no time for that when you're playing the first round of a Grand Slam".

Playing in her 15th Australian Open, the three-time finalist said she was pleased to go through so easily as she battles back from injuries.

World No. 2 Rafael Nadal has admitted Aussie James Duckworth's unique style of play had him stumped throughout his straight-sets first round rout of the journeyman.

Although she had a game point in the fifth game of the second set, she squandered that and all her other opportunities against the player she considers her idol.

Defending champion Roger Federer began his quest for a record seventh Australian Open title with a 6-3 6-4 6-4 win over Denis Istomin.

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The 22nd-seeded Ostapenko, who also advanced to the semifinals at Wimbledon a year ago, had beaten Sakkari in three sets in their only previous meeting at Charleston in 2017.

"It was a good test for my leg, for my shoulder", she said.

Chuckling even further, Nadal added: "I know, you were closing your eyes to be more focused on what I was saying".

Eleventh seed Aryna Sabalenka, widely tipped as a potential future champion, also safely negotiated round one on a hot day.

Boulter beat Ekaterina Makarova 6-0, 4-6, 7-6 (6), including 10-6 in the tiebreaker. Novak Djokovic, who plays his first-round match on Tuesday, and Roy Emerson, also have six wins each at the Australian Open, although Emerson's wins were before the start of the Open era in 1968.

Rafael Nadal has poked fun at a journalist who appeared to fall asleep during his post-match press conference at the Australian Open on Monday.

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