Shara­pova opens with 6-0, 6-0 vic­tory over Dart

Ledger-Enquirer - - Sports -

MEL­BOURNE, AUS­TRALIA

Maria Shara­pova got out of the Mel­bourne heat as quickly as she could, need­ing just 63 min­utes to beat British qual­i­fier Har­riet Dart 6-0, 6-0 in the first match on Rod Laver Arena at this year’s Aus­tralian Open.

Shara­pova, who wore an ice col­lar dur­ing breaks to help al­le­vi­ate the 86 de­gree tem­per­a­ture, was mak­ing her 15th ap­pear- ance at the sea­sonopen­ing ma­jor.

The only break point Shara­pova faced was when she dou­ble-faulted in the fifth game of the sec­ond set.

Dart, who de­scribed Shara­pova as her idol be­fore the match, lost in the first round at Wim­ble­don last year after be­ing given a wild card in her only pre­vi­ous Grand Slam sin­gles ap­pear­ance.

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.

An­other British player, Heather Wat­son, also lost early on day one, beaten 6-1, 6-2 by 31st-seeded Pe­tra Mar­tic.

AARON FAVILA AP

Rus­sia’s Maria Shara­pova makes a back­hand re­turn to Bri­tain’s Har­riet Dart on Mon­day at the Aus­tralian Open in Mel­bourne.

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