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Maria Sharapova through to second round of Australian Open after straight sets win

Former world No.1 Maria Sharapova has made a commanding start to her 2019 Australian Open campaign with a double-bagel triumph against British qualifier Harriet Dart.

Chasing her first grand slam title since serving a 15-month doping ban, the No.30 seed needed just 63 minutes to trounce Dart 6-0 6-0 today.

Sharapova's second-round opponent will be Swede Rebecca Peterson, who thumped Romanian Sorana Cristea 6-4 6-1.

The Russian's haul of five major titles includes the 2008 Australian Open crown.

Sharapova's most recent grand slam crown came at the 2014 French Open.

Less than two years later she was hit with a two-year doping ban - later reduced to 15 months - for testing positive to the banned substance meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open.

"It's been many years since I lifted the trophy here," Sharapova said today.

"I love competing but I also love challenging myself because the younger players are always getting better."

After winning three matches in qualifying last week to earn a spot in the main draw at Melbourne Park, the 22-year-old Dart was thoroughly outclassed by Sharapova, winning only 29 points across two one-sided sets.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 14:  Maria Sharapova of Russia plays a forehand in her first round match against Harriet Dart of Great Britain during day one of the 2019 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 14, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Maria Sharapova of Russia plays a forehand in her first round match against Harriet Dart of Great Britain during day one of the 2019 Australian Open at Melbourne Park. Source: Getty


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