Former champion Maria Sharapova began her 15th Australian Open with a 6-0, 6-0 win over Harriet Dart in 63 minutes here on Monday. The No. 30 seed, who has been struggling since her return from a doping ban in 2017, was her ruthless self and powered her game with drive volleys, drop shots and lobs, opening the 2019 Grand Slam season at the Rod Laver Arena, reports Efe news.
The 22-year-old Briton Dart, who described Sharapova as her idol before the match, is 101 places behind her in the rankings and was playing in just her second Grand Slam main draw. Sharapova had the 2-0 break within seven minutes, and shrugged off a detention for three deuces in the fifth game, and a time violation to hold for 5-0.
Dart got one breakpoint on her serve in the eighth game but Sharapova stormed back soon after. "It's been many years since I won the trophy here," Sharapova said after the match, according to the event's official website. "Despite my opponent not having the best day, I still had to get the job done today. I love what I do, I love competing and challenging myself to get better. The youngsters are coming up - but not yet," she added. Sharapova will next play against Swede Rebecca Peterson, who beat Sorana Cirstea 6-4, 6-1.
(With inputs from agencies.)