Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova began her participation at the Australia Open with a "double bagel" in a match against British player Harriet Dart, ending the match in just 63 minutes without letting her opponent score in the first two sets. She will now face Sweden's Rebecca Peterson in the next round of the championship.
Harriet Dart has participated at International Tennis Federation (ITF) tournaments since 2012, attaining 132nd place in the ITF rankings. Sharapova's next opponent is considered to be considerably stronger, holding 52nd place — the best so far in the Swedish player's career. The Russian tennis star, who formerly held 1st place in the rankings, is currently down to 30th in the ITF list for singles.
Many netizens hailed Sharapova's play in the first round of the Australia Open as solid.
Despite hitting seven double faults, Maria Sharapova starts her 2019 #AusOpen with a 6-0, 6-0 win over Harriet Dart. Masha was very solid actuallly.— José Morgado (@josemorgado) January 14, 2019
A nightmare for the young qualifier.
At the same time, many noted that Dart was no match for Sharapova's skill.
Dart got brutalized by a legend. No shame in that.— michael epps (@michael_epps) January 14, 2019
But not all twitterians were convinced that the Russian tennis player would emerge victorious prior to the match.
I bet Sharapova will lose as early as first round at Australia Open.— Chip (@hausofchip) January 11, 2019
Sharapova has faced several challenges since her return to tennis in 2017. She had to pull out of over a dozen matches due to issues with her shoulder, forearm, and hip. Last time she withdrew from a match with Aryna Sabalenka in the second set of the quarter-finals of the Shenzhen Open because of issues with her left hip and right shoulder.