Sharapova, Kerber, Wozniacki Winners At Australian Open; Williams On Tap Tuesday

Maria Sharapova said her passion for tennis remained undimmed Monday after a serving a 6-0, 6-0 "double bagel" to Britain's Harriet Dart in the Australian Open first round Monday.

Fifth seed Stephens defeated fellow American Taylor Townsend 6-4 6-2 for her first victory at Melbourne Park since 2014, while Sharapova revealed that, despite not losing a game in a smooth performance against Dart, she is still struggling with her troublesome shoulder.

Dart, who described Sharapova as her idol before the match, lost in the first round at Wimbledon past year after being given a wild card in her only previous Grand Slam singles appearance.

"We now have 2019 and I try to continue to play how I did a year ago", said the three-time Grand Slam victor.

If he opts to avoid another procedure, he might be able to play in July at Wimbledon, where he won two of his three major titles, including the first for a British man in 77 years.

Kerber said her form improved during the match and her ball-striking was not side-tracked by the at-times inconsistent opponent. There were some signs of rustiness, but for the most part, the world number two looked good in taking out James Duckworth 6-4, 6-3, 7-5 to advance to the second round of the Australian Open.

Ostapenko, the former victor of Roland Garros suffered a devastating loss against Maria Sakkari, 6-1, 3-6, 6-2.

Sharapova
Maria Sharapova

But Wozniacki took the first set before grabbing the crucial break in the third game of the second set to close out the victory.

The highest-seeded player to exit was No. 9 John Isner, who hit 47 aces but lost 7-6 (4), 7-6 (6), 6-7 (4), 7-6 (5) against 97th-ranked Reilly Opelka in an all-American match. "I was glad that I did the right things from the beginning till the end".

Later in the day, defending champion Caroline Wozniacki saved a break point in the opening game but there was little trouble to follow as she beat Alison Van Uytvanck 6-3, 6-4.

The first meeting between the 17-times Grand Slam champion, a victor at Melbourne Park in 2009, and Australian wildcard Duckworth, who is ranked 238 in the world, always had the potential to be an uneven contest.

Rafael Nadal wasn't about to let another Australian wild-card entry beat him at a Grand Slam tournament.

She now faces young Brit Katie Boulter who knocked out former semifinalist Ekatarina Makarova in a first-ever final set tiebreak at the Australian Open.

The Spaniard's 6-4 6-3 7-5 win was his 56th at the grand slam and moved him level with Stefan Edberg in fourth on the list for victories at the event by a man. He'll play another Australian, Matthew Ebden, next.

  • Angelo Rivera