Sharapova opens with straight-set win over Dart
Maria Sharapova has the second-best record among active players in firstround 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 doublefaults.
That was the only real blemish in Sharapova’s stats: She hit 20 winners and won five of her five points at the net.
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.
Sharapova was one of five Australian Open titlists to play on Rod Laver Arena on Day 1. Rafael Nadal, who won his only Australian title in 2009, was set to play James Duckworth, followed by 2016 winner Angelique Kerber against Polona Hercog.
Anderson overcame traditional poor first-round performances at Melbourne Park with a 6-3, 5-7, 6-2, 6-1 win over Adrian Mannarino.
Katie Boulter has the
A distinction of winning the first 10-point tiebreaker under the Australian Open’s new system for determining level deciding sets.
Boulter beat Ekaterina Makarova 6-0, 4-6, 7-6 (6), including 10-6 in the tiebreaker in which the first player to reach 10 with an advantage of two points clinches the match.
The French Open is the only remaining Grand Sam still decided by a long deciding set by advantage.