Shara­pova routs Dart to start Aus­tralian Open

Lethbridge Herald - - HERALD SPORTS | TOP STORIES -

Maria Shara­pova has the sec­ond-best record among ac­tive play­ers in first-round matches at the ma­jors, and she gave an il­lus­tra­tion of why that’s the case with a ruth­less 6-0, 6-0 win over Har­riet Dart at the Aus­tralian Open.

The 2008 Aus­tralian Open cham­pion got play started on Rod Laver Arena on Mon­day and needed only 63 min­utes to ad­vance.

In her 15th trip to Mel­bourne Park and her 55th Grand Slam tour­na­ment, she’s acutely aware of the toll that the sun and long early matches can have on a player’s ti­tle am­bi­tions, so she gets straight to busi­ness.

The 22-year-old Dart, play­ing in the main draw of a ma­jor for only the sec­ond time af­ter get­ting a wild­card to play last year at Wim­ble­don, only got a look at one break point in the match — when Shara­pova served a dou­ble-fault in the sec­ond set. She got seven of her 29 points from Shara­pova’s dou­ble-faults.

Shara­pova said she was still feel­ing pain in her right shoul­der despite sit­ting out the end of last sea­son af­ter the U.S. Open.

Stung by a first-round loss at Wim­ble­don last year, Shara­pova said she couldn’t af­ford to feel any em­pa­thy for Dart.

“I mean, there is no time for that, I’m sorry to say ... when you’re play­ing the first round of a Grand Slam. I think I was just fo­cused on not hav­ing a let­down. I think it’s very easy to be in a po­si­tion where things are flow­ing, you know, you’re do­ing all the right things, she’s mak­ing a few er­rors, you’re com­fort­able, easy to get com­pla­cent, and, you know, com­pla­cency is not great. I was glad that I did the right things from the be­gin­ning till the end.”

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