MELBOURNE, Australia — Maria Sharapova has the second-best document amongst energetic gamers in first-round matches on the majors, and she or he gave an illustration of why that’s the case with a ruthless 6-Zero, 6-Zero victory over Harriet Dart on the Australian Open on Monday.

Sharapova, the 2008 Australian Open champion, obtained play began on Rod Laver Enviornment and wanted solely 63 minutes to advance.

And Rafael Nadal, the No. 2 seed on the lads’s facet, adopted her on the principle court docket with an easy win over No. 238-ranked James Duckworth of Australia.

In her 15th journey to Melbourne Park and her 55th Grand Slam match, Sharapova is conscious about the toll that the solar and lengthy early matches can have on a participant’s title ambitions, so she obtained straight to enterprise.

Dart, 22, taking part in in the principle draw of a serious for under the second time after getting a wild card to play final yr at Wimbledon, obtained a take a look at just one break level within the match — when Sharapova served a double-fault within the second set. She obtained seven of her 29 factors from Sharapova’s double faults.

Sharapova mentioned she was nonetheless feeling ache in her proper shoulder regardless of having sat out the top of final season after the US Open.

“I believe it’s very simple to be ready the place issues are flowing, you already know,” Sharapova mentioned. “You’re doing all the fitting issues, she’s making just a few errors, you’re snug — simple to get complacent, and, you already know, complacency shouldn’t be nice. I used to be glad that I did the fitting issues from the start until the top.”

Up subsequent for Sharapova is Rebecca Peterson, who beat Sorana Cirstea, 6-Four, 6-1.

Fifth-seeded Sloane Stephens ended a three-match dropping streak in first-round matches at Melbourne Park with a 6-Four, 6-2 win over her fellow American Taylor Townsend.

Stephens misplaced within the first spherical of the Australian Open in 2015, 2016 and 2018. She missed the 2017 match right here after having foot surgical procedure and went on to win the U.S. Open later the identical yr.

Among the many different seeded gamers who superior had been No. 11 Aryna Sabalenka, who beat Anna Kalinskaya, 6-1, 6-Four; No. 19 Caroline Garcia; No. 29 Donna Vekic; and No. 31 Petra Martic.

Danielle Collins superior to the second spherical of a serious for the primary time with a 2-6, 7-6 (5), 6-Four victory over No. 14-seeded Julia Görges, who received the title in Auckland to start out the season.

Katie Boulter earned the excellence of profitable the primary 10-point tiebreaker beneath the Australian Open’s new system for deciding units. She beat Ekaterina Makarova, 6-Zero, Four-6, 7-6 (6), together with a 10-6 rating within the tiebreaker.

Nadal earned his 15th win in 17 matches towards wild playing cards at Grand Slam tournaments by beating Duckworth, 6-Four, 6-Three, 7-5.

Nadal’s solely earlier defeats to wild-card entrants at main occasions had been towards the American James Blake within the third spherical of the 2005 United States Open and the Australian Nick Kyrgios within the spherical of 16 at Wimbledon in 2014.

Nadal’s solely stumble as he served for the match and was damaged by Duckworth, who obtained again to 5-Four. However Nadal returned the favor, breaking the Australian within the last sport of the match.

Fifth-seeded Kevin Anderson received his first match at Melbourne Park since 2015, beating Adrian Mannarino, 6-Three, 5-7, 6-2, 6-1. Additionally advancing on the lads’s facet had been No. 19 Nikoloz Basilashvili and No. 26 Fernando Verdasco.


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