Australian Open: Maria Sharapova breezes to 1st-round win

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Maria Sharapova got out of the Melbourne heat as quickly as she could, needing just 63 minutes to beat British qualifier Harriet Dart 6-0, 6-0 in the first match on Rod Laver Arena at this year's Australian Open.

Sharapova, who wore an ice collar during breaks to help alleviate the 30 C temperature, was making her 15th appearance at the season-opening major.

The only break point Sharapova faced was when she double-faulted in the fifth game of the second set.

Dart, who described Sharapova as her idol before the match, lost in the first round at Wimbledon last year after being given a wild card in her only previous Grand Slam singles appearance.

The 22-year-old Dart had a game point on her serve in the eighth game of the match, but Sharapova rallied to break the British player and continue the rout.

Another British player, Heather Watson, also lost early on day one, beaten 6-1, 6-2 by 31st-seeded Petra Martic.

Nadal moves on

Rafael Nadal wasn't about to let another Australian wild-card entry beat him at a Grand Slam tournament.

The Spanish left-hander beat No. 238th-ranked James Duckworth 6-4, 6-3, 7-5, his 15th win in 17 matches against wild cards at Grand Slam tournaments.

Nadal's only previous defeats to wildcard entrants at majors were against American James Blake in the third round of the 2005 U.S. Open and Australian Nick Kyrgios in the round of 16 at Wimbledon in 2014.

Nadal advances to Australian Open 2nd round with straight-set win:

17-time Major champion Rafael Nadal beat 238th-ranked James Duckworth 6-4, 6-3, 7-5 to advance to the second round of the Australian Open. 0:52

Nadal, wearing a sleeveless top, did an extended left-arm celebratory pump after breaking Duckworth's serve after two cross-court stunners to lead 4-2 in the third set.

His only stumble as he served for the match and was broken by Duckworth, who got back to 5-4. But Nadal returned the favour, breaking the Australian in the final game of the match.

Nadal has only lost twice in the first round at Grand Slams — to Steve Darcis at 2013 Wimbledon, and to Fernando Verdasco at Melbourne Park in 2016.

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