Maria Sharapova Leads The Way As Seeds Breeze Through First Round - UBITENNIS
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Maria Sharapova Leads The Way As Seeds Breeze Through First Round

Maria Sharapova easily beat Harriet Dart at the Australian Open, and several other seeds also sailed through.



Maria Sharapova made light of the injury rumours surrounding her participation at the 2019 Australian Open with a straightforward 6-0 6-0 win over Harriet Dart.


The Russian, 30, withdrew from the Shenzhen Open ten days ago with a thigh injury. However, she showed no ill effects in her first round match as she demolished the British qualifier with ease.

Sharapova set the tone for the rest of the match with a cultured backhand winner to finish off a comfortable first service game. She then unleashed a succession of blistering returns to break Dart immediately for a 2-0 lead.

And things did not get any better for the Brit. The five-time Grand Slam champion dominated most of the baseline rallies and broke Dart twice more to close out the first set 6-0.

In the second set, Sharapova remained untroubled on her serve and continued her assault on the qualifier’s serve. She ground down Dart’s resistance to break her in the second game, and then achieved two far simpler breaks to bring the match to a swift conclusion.

“I love competing and challenging myself to get better,” the Russian said in her on court-interview. “The youngsters are coming through and will eventually take our place, but not just yet.”

She continued, “You have to have a really positive vision in this sport because you can have a lot of let-downs and a lot of tough moments and I’ve certainly gone through many in my career.”

Tougher tests undoubtedly await for Sharapova, who could face Caroline Wozniacki in round three, but she has certainly made a great start to the first Grand Slam of the year.

Sabalenka, Garcia, Martic and Vekic cruise into round two

While the Russian achieved the most emphatic scoreline, there were plenty of other easy victories for seeded players in the women’s draw in the early part of the day.

Aryna Sabalenka, the 11th seed, was one of the first to make it through to round two. She polished off a 6-1 6-4 win over Russian qualifier Anna Kalinskaya in just 66 minutes.

Petra Martic, the 31st seed, was similarly speedy. She ended Heather Watson’s stay in the singles draw with a 6-1 6-2 victory in 64 minutes.

Caroline Garcia, the 19th seed, followed soon after. She beat French qualifier Jessika Ponchet 6-2 6-3 in 75 minutes.

And Donna Vekic, the 30th seed, celebrated her first Grand Slam appearance as a seeded player with a commanding 6-2 6-4 victory over Kristina Mladenovic.


Jennifer Brady cruises past Elina Svitolina in Dubai



US qualifier Jennifer Brady upset 2017 and 2018 Dubai champion Elina Svitolina 6-2 6-1 in one hour at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. Brady hit three consecutive backhand to hold serve. She did not face any other break point in the rest of the first set and won nine consecutive games.


Brady broke Svitolina in the sixth game with a bakhand down the line and in the eighth game, as Svitolina sent a backhand into the net.

Brady earned two consecutive breaks in the second game of the second set to open up a 4-0 lead. Brady wasted a 40-0 lead on her serve in the fifth game. Svitolina pulled one of the two breaks back, but she dropped her serve for the third time. As Brady was serving for the match, she came back from 0-30 down and sealed the win with her fifth ace.

Kristina Mladenovic reached the second round with a 6-4 6-3 win over Aliaksandra Sasnovich.

Sasnovich held a 4-1 record in her five head-to-head matches and won all their three previous clashes played on hard-court.

The first set was marked by seven breaks in the first ten games. Sasnovich went up a break three times, but Mladenovic broke back each time to draw level to 4-4. Mladenovic closed out the first set with a break in the 10th game thanks to an inside-out forehand return.

Mladenovic opened up a 3-0 lead with a break in the second game and closed out the second set on her third match point with a forehand winner with a forehand winner after 1 hour and 33 minutes. The French player set up a second round match against Karolina Pliskova in a re-match of the first round match at the Australian Open. Pliskova beat Mladenovic in straight sets, but the the French player scored a 6-4 6-2 in their first clsh played in Dubai in 2017.

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Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova rallies from slow start to beat Belinda Bencic in Dubai



Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova came back from one set down to beat defending champion Belinda Bencic 1-6 6-1 6-1 in 1 hour and 30 minutes reaching the second round at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.


Bencic reeled off the first 19 points of the match to win seven of the first eight games of the match. Pavlyuchenkova bounced back by winning 12 of the last 13 games to clinch her 15th career top 5 win. The Russian player clinched only the second of her six head-to-head matches against Bencic and her first victory against her Swiss rival since Washington 2015. Bencic had won her past three clashes against Pavlyuchenkova at the 2018 Hopman Cup, at Wimbledon 2019 and in the Moscow final 2019.

Bencic earned her first break in the second game after four consecutive unforced errors from Pavlyuchenkova. The Swiss player went up a double break to open up a 4-0 after Pavlyuchenkova made three double faults.

Pavlyuchenkova stopped a losing streak of 19 consecutive points in the fifth game at 15-40 down, but Bencic held her service game at deuce. Bencic missed a point for the bagel, as Pavlyuchenkova won her first game with a service winner. Bencic served out the first set in the next game with consecutive unreturned serves.

Bencic earned an early break at the start of the second set after two double faults from Pavlyuchenkova. The Russian player turned around the match by winning six consecutive games to win the second set 6-1.

Pavlyuchenkova broke at love in the second game and earned the second and third breaks in two deuce games. Pavlyuchenova won a return game for 5-1 with a drive volley and served out on his first set point, as Bencic sent her pass long.

Pavlyuchenkova earned an immediate break with three consecutive winners. The Russian player, who reached the final in Osaka and Moscow, went up a double break to take a 3-0 lead. Bencic pulled back one of the two breaks in the fourth game. Pavlyuchenova broke for the fifth game to open up a 4-1 lead. She broke Benci for the seventh consecutive time, as Bencic hit her backhand in the net.

“As soon as I won one or two points, I was like right, this is something I need to keep doing. I was trying to realize why I won it, what did I do right. I was just trying to find that rhythm”, said Pavlyuchenkova.


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Marketa Vondrousova eases past Anastasija Sevastova in Dubai



Last year’s Roland Garros finalist Marketa Vondrousova eased past Anastasija Sevastova 6-3 6-2 after 1 hour and nine minutes to reach the second round at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.


Vondrousova saved all five break points she faced and converted three of her four chances. The Czech player built up a 4-1 lead with a break in the opening set. Sevastova earned two break-back points at 4-2, but Vondrousova held her serve after four deuces.

Sevastova held serve at love for 5-3 forcing Vondrousova to serve for the set. Vondrousova earned three set points with a dropshot winner and converted her first chance with a drop volley.

Vondrousova earned an early break to take a 2-1 lead in the second set and backed it up to open up a 3-1 lead. Vondrousova went up a double break in the seventh game and converted the first of her three match points with an ace to set up a second round match against either Elina Svitolina or US qualifier Jennifer Brady.

Vondrousova made her come-back at last January’s Australian Open after undergoing surgery last year.

“I know Sevastova is a good player. We played once. I expected a tough match. It was a late match, so I had to stay calm. I am just happy with my win”,said Vondrousova.

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