Maria Sharapova and rising star Aryna Sabalenka cruised into the second round of the Australian Open on Monday, with easy straight sets victories over Harriet Dart and Anna Kalinskaya respectively.
In the opening match of the tournament on Rod Laver Arena, 2008 champion Sharapova handed out a demoralizing 6-0, 6-0 defeat, or double bagle, to British qualifier Harriet Dart.
“It’s been many years since I played and held that tropy here so it’s always a privilege to get out back on this court and compete and despite my opponent not having the best day I had still to get the job done today,” said 31-year-old Sharapova.
She now faces Sweden’s Rebecca Peterson in the second round.
World number 11 Sabalenka, who has been tipped as a dark horse to win the women’s title, meanwhile dispatched another qualifier, Russia’s Kalinskaya 6-1, 6-4.
The 20-year-old Belarusian, who got her 2019 season off to a winning start by claiming her third WTA title at the Shenzhen Open, meets Britain’s Katie Boulter in the second round.
In the men’s draw, fifth seed Kevin Anderson overcame Frenchman Adrian Mannarino 6-3, 5-7, 6-2, 6-1.