Australian Open 2018: Karolina Pliskova & Carolina Garcia progress to round two

Johanna Konta

Johanna Konta

And after winning the title in Sydney last week, she defeated Anna-Lena Friedsam, her German compatriot, 6-0, 6-4 in Melbourne on Tuesday.

Now he says that Konta - who will begin her Australian Open campaign against world No92 Madison Brengle next week - has numerous same assets.

"It's been a couple of years and I wanted it to be really meaningful to me".

Though Sharapova versus Maria sounds as if it could be self-defeating (and led to some pointing and smiling at the scoreboard on Tuesday), it was actually a contrast in styles: Sharapova's flat strokes against Maria's slice; Sharapova's two-handed backhand against Maria's one-hander; Sharapova's offense and swing volleys against Maria's defense, which often sent the latter scrambling into the shadows deep behind the court.

"If he's back playing you hope he's 100 percent or close to 100 percent, but you never know where the confidence is", three-times Melbourne champion Mats Wilander told Reuters.

"I've got shivers, I cherish these moments".

She made her return to the tour last April, but didn't contest her first Grand Slam tournament until the U.S. Open, where she reached the fourth round.

For the last two months, Konta has teamed up with American coach Michael Joyce, who steered Sharapova to the Australian Open crown in 2008. Sharapova is in a different class to Tatjana Maria and as a result, I only see one result in this opening round fixture.

Awaiting Sharapova in the second round is either Varvara Lepchenko or 14th seed Anastasija Sevastova.

She can´t wait for her next match on Thursday even though temperatures are forecast to hit 40 Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) later in the week.

That appeared to knock Sharapova off her stride, but only momentarily, surviving a wobble by reeling off four successive games to reach the next round, sealing her win with an ace.

"I look forward to the heat, I love it", she said.

She next plays ninth-seeded Johanna Konta of Britain, a victor over another American on Tuesday, Madison Brengle.

This was Sharapova's first time back since failing a doping test at the 2016 event, and her second Grand Slam since the ensuing suspension ended.

Sixth-seeded Czech Karolina Pliskova had to work a little harder, but also won in straight sets against Paraguay's Veronica Cepede Royg.

The French Tennis Federation president, Bernard Giudicelli, declined to offer her a wild card into the main draw or qualifying for last year's French Open, even though she had won two titles there.

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