GB's Harriet Dart handed lesson by Maria Sharapova, Heather Watson also out

GB's Harriet Dart handed lesson by Maria Sharapova, Heather Watson also out

Javier Howell
January 17, 2019

The 22-year-old Briton Dart, who described Sharapova as her idol before the match, is 101 places behind her in the rankings and was playing in just her second Grand Slam main draw.

"There is nothing like going out and playing a match, especially in a Grand Slam, the feelings, the nerves, anticipation of a first round", she said.

On a day when an injured Andy Murray likely played his last match at the Australian Open in a stirring five-setter - his first first-round loss at a Grand Slam tournament in 11 years - Nadal was circumspect about his progress.

Asked why, at 31, she is still putting herself through the pain, Sharapova said: "I still really have the passion for this".

Up next for Sharapova is Rebecca Peterson, who beat Sorana Cirstea 6-4, 6-1.

Second seed Rafael Nadal, another who has struggled with injuries, is also in action against Australian James Duckworth.

He was joined in the third round by another kid from the US who'd never been that far at Melbourne Park, 21-year-old Taylor Fritz, who saved 12 of the 13 break points he faced while dispatching No. 30 seed Gael Monfils of France 6-3, 6-7 (8), 7-6 (6), 7-6 (5).

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

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In-form fifth seed Kevin Anderson has avoided another first-round banana skin at the Australian Open to set up a clash with American young gun Frances Tiafoe.

"I think it's shown the depth that is in Australian tennis on the female side". She went on to beat Russia's Ekaterina Makarova 6-0, 4-6, 7-6 (10/6).

The third-seeded Dane broke Van Uytvanck once in each set and kept her unforced errors down to win the baseline battle in an hour and 33 minutes in the first match of the evening session at the Rod Laver Arena.

Victoria Azarenka was the last player to successfully defend the Australian Open title back in 2013.

Former world number one Rafael Nadal equalled Stefan Edberg's record for the fourth-most wins by a man at the Australian Open.

Britain's Katie Boulter, meanwhile, created a slice of history by becoming the first woman to win in a third set tiebreak -- a new rule introduced to the Open this year.

The Spaniard registered a straightforward win in three sets, 6-4, 6-3, 7-5, to set up a meeting with Duckworth's compatriot Matthew Ebden in the next round.

The Spaniard, who will next meet the victor of Australian Matthew Ebden's contest with Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany, broke Duckworth for the sixth time and brought an end to the match with a brilliant backhand pass.