Sharapova storms into third round to set up Kerber clash

Sharapova storms into third round to set up Kerber clash

Sharapova storms into third round to set up Kerber clash

Maria Sharapova marked her return to the Australian Open with a 6-1, 6-4 win over Germany's Tatjana Maria in the first round Tuesday.

She celebrated by twirling, waving and blowing kisses to the crowd.

Raonic, a semi-finalist and quarter-finalist in the last two years, was another player coming back from an injury-ravaged 2017 but, unlike Djokovic and Wawrinka, he was unable to find a way through. "I'm just really happy to be back here".

Australian Open organisers were criticised for their choice of 2008 champion Sharapova for Thursday's draw ceremony and it would be no surprise if the world No. 48 faced a backlash on her return to action in Melbourne.

The five-time major victor got vocal support from fans during and after her opening match. "I was putting a lot of hours on the court in the past couple weeks". "I cherish these moments, I love it".

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Sharapova could next meet No. 14-seeded Anastasija Sevastova, who beat her at the U.S. Open past year in her return to a Grand Slam to tournament.

The Russian, beaten in three sets by the Latvian at the US Open past year, won 6-1 7-6 (7-4) in one hour and 20 minutes.

Konta served just the one ace but enjoyed a 75 per cent win rate on her highly accurate first service in a match where she clobbered 20 winners to Brengle's solitary effort.

The 30-year-old Russian, who served a 15-month doping ban last year after testing positive for banned substance meldonium after her Melbourne defeat by Serena Williams in 2016, met some rugged resistance but had too much power for Maria.

Sharapova found herself in the firing line of critics again on the eve of the tournament when she was invited to represent the women at the draw and carried the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup onto court. "Something is going on with Australia and me".

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"Even though we're not feeling good, we can still find a way and eventually play good again, whereas others would struggle early on and it becomes more hard".

No. 9 Johanna Konta beat Madison Brengle 6-3, 6-1, handing the US a 10th loss in 11 first-round women's matches.

"It felt great to be back on the court and compete again", the six-times Australian Open champion said afterwards.

The Wimbledon champion Garbiñe Muguruza fell out of the tournament after being beaten, 7-6 (1), 6-4, by Hsieh Su-wei.

Wawrinka argued neither his game nor his fitness were anywhere near where he would want them to be but he battled well to beat Ricardas Berankis 6-3 6-4 2-6 7-6 (7/2).

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Hungarian Marton Fucsovics, ranked 80, piled more misery on the United States, beating 13th seed Sam Querrey, with the American contingent in Melbourne - men and women - decimated in the early rounds. Two other United States contenders, No 8 Jack Sock and No 16 John Isner, were out on opening day.

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