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Unseeded Sharapova makes winning start at Australian Open

18 January 2018

MARIA SHARAPOVA buried her US Open ghosts and surged into the Australian Open third round. The first two sets went extremely well, considering that I haven't played for six months.

With a forecast high of 39 Celsius (102 Fahrenheit), Sharapova appeared to be in a hurry to get off the Rod Laver Arena court ASAP and won the first set in 23 minutes.

Russia's Maria Sharapova enjoyed a winning return to the Australian Open as she swept aside Germany's Tatjana Maria in straight sets to reach the second round in Melbourne.

She returned to the tour midway through 2017 and entered the first grand slam tournament of the year unseeded and with a world ranking of 48.

The French tennis star is fresh off of a title win at the Qatar Open.

Sevastova immediately broke once again with the set going into a tie-break but she was unable to force a deciding set as Sharapova maintained her record of not dropping a set so far in the tournament. They didn't meet again until past year on grass at Eastbourne, where Djokovic won in straight sets.

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But the Latvian, who reached back-to-back quarter-finals at the US Open in 2016 and 2017, suddenly woke up against the 2008 Australian Open victor and broke back immediately.

Sharapova, who won the title 10 years ago, dropped serve to lose her only game in the opening set, although the rallies were often drawn out with Maria showing tenacious scrambling skills. Kerber is a much better player right now and has been the more consistent player even in this tournament.

The former world number one said she had learned to be comfortable with all the attention.

Wawrinka, who had six months out after surgery on his left knee, beat Ricardas Berankis 6-3, 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (2).

Sam Querrey was the latest of the leading US men eliminated when he lost his second-round match 6-4, 7-6 (6), 4-6, 6-2 to 80th-ranked Marton Fucsovics. "I'm looking forward to playing against her".

Her second-round win was a hugely satisfying one, with the Russian overcoming 14th seed Anastasija Sevastova, who had beaten her at the US Open, 6-1 7-6 (7/4). Two other USA contenders, No. 8 Jack Sock and No. 16 John Isner, were among the first-round casualties Monday. Sharapova often looks like she's still getting her legs under her, and she had trouble closing out her second round victory. Federer, Djokovic Zverev, Thiem, Berdych advanced while Halep survived a first set scare before prevailing. I saw that you've portrayed me as someone who is very greedy, asks for more money and wants to boycott.

Unseeded Sharapova makes winning start at Australian Open