Maria Sharapova stormed into the third round of the Australian Open on Thursday morning with a straight sets win over Anastasija Sevastova. I have a potentially tough one in the next round who I have had a lot of trouble against over the last few months.
The Russian was suspended from the tour for 15 months after testing positive for the drug meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open. "I want to ... go out there and do some damage".
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.
The five-time major victor recovered from an early break in the second set and closed out her 6-1, 6-4 victory over Tatjana Maria with an ace.
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She took just over half an hour to win the first set against the German and, despite facing more resistence in the second set, eased past her opponent.
Sharapova was banned after testing positive for the drug meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open, when she reached the quarterfinals, and finished past year ranked No. 60. She still managed to squander a pair of match points before getting over the line. "So third round of the Australian Open, I don't know, I think I deserve to smile out there after that victory", Sharapova said after the match.
The former world champion was playing his first official match since retiring during his Wimbledon quarter final match against Tomas Berdych last summer with elbow problems that forced him to miss the rest of the season. She's had success playing out here in these conditions on these courts.
"I did the job in two, and that's not something I did towards the end of past year".
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"I really enjoyed being back in Australia", said Kerber.
Kerber, who defeated Donna Vekic 6-4 6-1, said: "We both played in the past a lot of good matches". I don't think there is anything unhealthy about that.
American Madison Keys, the U.S. Open runner-up, moved into the second round with a 6-1, 7-5 victory over Wang Qiang. When you come back after a long time and you play [your] first match, obviously all the things are a bit exaggerated - whatever is not working well. A quarter-finalist in Melbourne a year ago and a runner-up at the 2016 US Open, Pliskova as well as Konta have been talked up as a major victor in waiting and she got off to the best possible start.
Eighth seed Caroline Garcia had to fight to secure her place in round three, coming back from a set down to beat Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic 7-6 (7-3), 2-6, 6-8.
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