Published: Tue, January 16, 2018
Sport | By Cameron Gross

Sharapova motors past Maria in Aussie opener

Sharapova motors past Maria in Aussie opener

This story will be updated as new information becomes available. "It's a challenge, but that's why it's a Grand Slam". He has been among the most vocal proponents for shortening the almost year-long tennis schedule to protect top players from injury.

"She's a former champion at the Australian Open, 10 years ago - like it's the 30-year anniversary of this great Melbourne Park, and Billie Jean King arrived this morning".

Sharapova served the suspension for taking controversial medication meldonium during the 2016 Australian Open. Sharapova won the tournament in 2008 and has reached the final on three other occasions.

Sharapova got off to a flying start, breaking at the first time of asking for a 2-0 lead on the Margaret Court Arena.

"It means a lot to me, I cherish these moments".

Maria Sharapova's first match back at the Australian Open turned out to be against someone who made the scoreboard read simply "Maria Sharapova".

From there the first set was wrapped up routinely by Sharapova as she cruised to a 6-1 win. "I love it here", she added.

"I think even that match in Sydney has helped me along my way in really trying to play at the level that I want to play".

Pera carries an EpiPen emergency allergy injector with her at all times, just to be safe.

Maria Sharapova holds the Australian Open trophy at the 2018 draw
Sharapova motors past Maria in Aussie opener

British player Konta is the ninth seed in Melbourne for next week's tournament, despite concerns over a hip injury which forced her to retire at last week's Brisbane International.

Pera has only seen Konta play on television, so she's a little unsure what to expect.

Not wanting to draw attention to Sharapova's ban, McLachlan referred to her recent absence from the game as a "time out".

The Russian is due to meet in-form Kerber in round three and the German advanced easily against compatriot Anna-Lena Friedsam, winning 6-0 6-4.

A couple of double faults and one dropped service game aside, Sharapova was nearly flawless in taking the first set 6-1 in just 32 minutes behind 14 winners, a lot of them driven unerringly from her powerful forehand side.

Kerber will celebrate her 30th birthday on Thursday with a second-round match against either Nao Habino or Donna Vekic.

Pliskova, who held the top ranking in July of past year, is among six players who could return to No. 1 depending on results at the season-opening major.

Joyce was the coach on deck for two of Sharapova's major wins, in Melbourne and NY. Just like everyone in the draw we know it is going to get tougher in the next few rounds'. On Monday, the nine U.S. women eliminated included 2017 finalist Venus Williams and U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens.

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