Shara­pova wins opener at the Aus­tralian Open

The Day - - SUMMARY - By JOHN PYE AP Sports Writer

Mel­bourne, Aus­tralia — 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.

That was the only real blem­ish in Shara­pova's stats: She hit 20 win­ners and won five of her five points at the net.

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," she said. "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."

Among play­ers who've played at least 10 ma­jors, only 23-time ma­jor win­ner Ser­ena Wil­liams (.986) started the tour­na­ment with a bet­ter ra­tio.

Up next for Shara­pova is Re­becca Peter­son, who beat So­rana Cirstea, 6-4, 6-1.

Among the other seeded play­ers ad­vanc­ing were No. 11 Aryna Sa­balenka, who beat Anna Kalin­skaya 6-1, 6-4, No. 19 Caro­line Gar­cia, No. 29 Donna Ve­kic and No. 31 Pe­tra Mar­tic.

Danielle Collins ad­vanced to the sec­ond round of a ma­jor for the first time fol­low­ing a 2-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4 win over No. 14-seeded Ju­lia Go­erges, who won the ti­tle in Auck­land to start the sea­son.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.