nsucurrent.com May 21, 2018

Sharapova wins opening-round match

18 January 2018, 01:55 | Nina Perez

Sharapova wins opening-round match

Sharapova wins opening-round match

Maria Sharapova was happy with her improved display after an impressive win over Anastasija Sevastova at the Australian Open.

"2017, I have said goodbye already, I am not looking back", she said after a forgettable last season. The Russian continued to assert her aggressiveness, putting her up 6-2 in the breaker as she looked to close out the match.

"It will be another tough match", said Kerber.

'The fact that she's playing someone with the surname "maria" so the scoreboard reads maria sharapova. casually foreshadowing the title victor (sic)' commented one fan.

"I get shivers", said Sharapova.

In their next encounter in Beijing Sevastova was only denied after more than three gruelling hours in a titanic three-setter.

So the 35 degree Celsius (95F) heat may have quickly forced a rethink as Sharapova burst out of the blocks in a hail of winners to roar through the first set in 23 minutes.

Sharapova, still unseeded after returning from her 15-month doping ban, sees matches against the leading players as the best way to test her level. I understand that and that's part of the process and I'm here to work through that.

Eighth seed Caroline Garcia eventually made it into the second round after stumbling in the second set against Carina Witthoeft before taking the match 7-5 6-3.

Kerber and Sharapova have played seven times before, with the Russian leading 4-3 but having lost the last two. "I managed to get that set".

"With that choice I know that I face difficulties and challenges on the court and that I start from no ranking and that I might start on some outside courts".

"I think that´s an improvement".

As temperatures soared toward 104 degrees, it was a sizzling demolition of an opponent who had taken Sharapova to three sets in both their previous meetings. She made her return to the tour in April, but didn't contest her first Grand Slam tournament until the U.S. Open, in which she reached the fourth round.

Another forehand victor put him ahead 30-15 but he double-faulted and faced break point when Guido hit a forehand victor.

"It felt great to be back on the court and compete again".

Sharapova regathered and was not to be denied as she hit a scarcely believable forehand crosscourt victor on the run to get to 5-2 before closing out the match with a scream of joy, a fist pump and a huge smile.

"Well, the first two sets went extremely well, considering that I haven't played for six months".

Speaking to the media after his first round match at the Australian Open where he beat Donald Young comfortably by a score of 6-1, 6-2, 6-4, Djokovic said, "Some of you have written a story that has been a little bit exaggerated".

Unlike at the US Open, she was not put straight on the main stadium court, but the secondary Margaret Court Arena, which was bathed in the sunlight of a cloudless Melbourne day.

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