Shara­pova leads pa­rade of for­mer Aus­tralian Open cham­pi­ons

The Trentonian (Trenton, NJ) - - SPORTS -

MEL­BOURNE, AUS­TRALIA >> Maria Shara­pova will be the first of five for­mer cham­pi­ons play­ing on Rod Laver Arena on day one of the Aus­tralian Open.

Shara­pova, who won her only Aus­tralian ti­tle 11 years ago, was play­ing Har­riet Dart in the open­ing match on Mon­day. 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.

De­fend­ing cham­pion Caro­line Woz­ni­acki was sched­uled to play Ali­son Van Uty­vanck to start the night ses­sion, fol­lowed by six-time Aus­tralian cham­pion Roger Fed­erer’s match against De­nis Is­tomin.

The night ses­sion on cen­ter court was set to be­gin with a cer­e­mony hon­or­ing the man him­self, Rod Laver, on the an­niver­sary of his sec­ond Grand Slam of sin­gles ma­jors in 1969.

The tem­per­a­ture was 26 de­grees Cel­sius (79 Fahren­heit) as play­ers warmed up for the open­ing matches, and was ex­pected to rise to 34C (93F) later in the day.

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