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Australian Open: Maria Sharapova breezes to 1st-round win

14 January, 2019, 15:26 | Author: Heidi Alvarez
  • Roger Federer explains Rafael Nadal rivalry difficulties against his greatest opponent

Isner went up a break in the fourth set and served to force a fifth while ahead 5-4. "It's very special to be back".

Nadal has only lost twice in the first round at Grand Slams - to Steve Darcis at 2013 Wimbledon, and to Fernando Verdasco at Melbourne Park in 2016.

Sharapova, the champion in 2008, takes on unseeded Harriet Dart in her first match since withdrawing because of a thigh injury in Shenzhen.

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. The Russian ended her 2018 season early with a shoulder injury.

Denmark's Wozniacki broke through for her first Slam title here past year, beating Simona Halep in the final, and gets her tournament under way against Belgium's Alison van Uytvanck.

"You keep working and put your head down and kind of disappear once I leave here and just work", he told reporters. I don't know my percentage, but there were a lot of good positions after the first serve. "I was glad that I did the right things from the beginning till the end".

Also advancing were 2017 U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens, No. 11 Aryna Sabalenka, No. 19 Caroline Garcia, No. 29 Donna Vekic and No. 31 Petra Martic.

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Nadal moved on with a 6-4, 6-3, 7-5 win over Australian wild-card entry James Duckworth, his first match back at Rod Laver Arena since he had to retire in his quarterfinal match in the tournament past year.

Nadal used all his experience to win his next service game from 15-30 down before breaking Duckworth again for the straight-sets win.

Wimbledon semi-finalist Isner fell at the first hurdle at Melbourne Park for the second year in a row, having been beaten by unseeded Australian Matthew Ebden in a major shock last year.

Britain's Katie Boulter, meanwhile, created a slice of history by becoming the first woman to win in a third set tiebreak -- a new rule introduced to the Open this year.

United States number one John Isner was sent crashing out of the first round of the competition by compatriot Reilly Opelka 7-6 (4) 7-6 (6) 6-7 (4) 7-6 (5) in a battle of two of the game's tallest players.

Defending champion Roger Federer was scheduled to play a night match later Monday.

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