Thursday, 24 January, 2019

Nadal flies into Open round two as Sharapova sends warning

Tennis Podcast Australian Open 2019 preview Rafael Nadal Nadal is vulnerable on hard courts Credit REUTERS
Sidney Guerrero | 14 January, 2019, 15:25

"When I get broken was not because of the serve", said the second seed who dished up just a single double fault. "It's very special to be back".

Nadal had promised to unveil a remodelled, improved serve at the first Grand Slam of the year and the new action was going smoothly until he served for the match at 5-3 in the third set only for Duckworth to break to love.

Sharapova, a victor at Melbourne Park in 2008, signalled her intent with a rare 6-0, 6-0 double bagel demolition of Britain's Harriet Dart, who ended the match in tears.

Former world number one Sharapova barely raised a sweat in her 6-0 6-0 rout of British qualifier Dart in Melbourne on Monday.

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.

Sharapova said she was still feeling pain in her right shoulder despite sitting out the end of last season after the U.S. Open.

Denmark's Wozniacki broke through for her first Slam title here past year, beating Simona Halep in the final, and gets her tournament under way against Belgium's Alison van Uytvanck.

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"I mean, there is no time for that, I'm sorry to say", Sharapova - the 30th seed - told reporters afterwards. I don't know my percentage, but was a lot of good positions after the first serve.

This was his last Australian Open and the question is whether he will be able to compete at Wimbledon, where he won two of his three major titles.

Wild Card Duckworth pulled off some lovely shots - particularly in the final few games to entertain the crowd - but despite breaking the 17-time Grand Slam champion at 5-3 down in the final set, he could not make it count.

Fifth seed Kevin Anderson also progressed against Adrian Mannarino, with last year's Wimbledon finalist a 6-3, 5-7, 6-2, 6-1 victor.

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.

Boulter beat Ekaterina Makarova 6-0, 4-6, 7-6 (6), including 10-6 in the tiebreaker.

Rafael Nadal celebrates winning the match against Australia's James Duckworth. Also advancing on the men's side were No. 19 Nikoloz Basilashvili and No. 26 Fernando Verdasco.

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