Maria Sharapova back in the old routine

The first-round upsets included Venus Williams, U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens and CoCo Vandeweghe, a semifinalist here and at the U.S. Open a year ago.

Two of them will meet in the third round. It is [50 years] since she won. World No.2 Simona Halep was her first twilight victim.

"I felt like I have got a lot of things out of the way physically and emotionally and mentally past year with - there was a lot of firsts again for me, playing the first tournament, first grand slam, and just different feelings and what it would be routinely. I love it here", said the Russian, who missed last year's tournament due to her ban.

The Latvian, who reached back-to-back quarter-finals at the US Open in 2016 and 2017, briefly woke up to break the Sharapova serve for the first time early in the second set. "We both played in the past a lot of good matches".

It's supposed to be even hotter on Friday, with a forecast high of 42 Celsius (108 Fahrenheit).

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Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia, the 14th seed, awaits for Sharapova in round two after she beat Uzebkistan-born American Varvara Lepchenko 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.

The 30-year-old Russian will play the second match on Margaret Court Arena against Germany's Tatjana Maria in the first round, in what will be her first match in Melbourne for two years.

Twice Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova's return to the Australian Open a year after being attacked by an intruder at her home ended in disappointment with a marathon 6-3 4-6 10-8 first-round loss to German Andrea Petkovic on Tuesday.

Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza was the latest big name to tumble out of the tournament, the Spaniard losing 7-6 (7/1) 6-4 to world number 88 Hsieh Su-wei of Chinese Taipei.

That left only Sharapova, Kerber and French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko as Grand Slam winners in the women's draw. "I want to be playing against opponents that have former Grand Slam champions", Sharapova said of a potential match against former No. 1-ranked Kerber.

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The player also had the easiest of rides in her on-stage interview.

Novak Djokovic exceeded expectations on his return to grand slam action at the Australian Open on Tuesday but the Serb should brace for doubts to re-surface during tougher matches, according to former world number one Mats Wilander.

Pera lost in the final round of qualifying and got into the tournament when Margarita Gasparyan withdrew because of a shoulder injury.

"I have expectations because of my previous results in my career, and I know at what level I can play and what tennis I can produce". "I was checking the tickets to fly back. So I am happy to be here, happy that I'm on court again", he said.

Men's fourth seed Alexander Zverev enjoyed a straight-sets victory over Thomas Fabbiano 6-1 7-6 (5) 7-5, to make the second round of the Australian Open.

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


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