Australian Open men's roundup -- Monday first-round matches

James Duckworth may be in the right place right time with Rafael Nadal

Sharapova, a victor at Melbourne Park in 2008, signalled her intent with a rare 6-0, 6-0 double bagel demolition of Britain's Harriet Dart, who ended the match in tears.

After an abdominal problem and ankle surgery ended his season early, he pulled out of the warm-up tournament in Brisbane last week with a minor thigh strain.

To most, the return of Nadal was an exciting way to start the tournament, with the Spaniard returning to the biggest stage for the first time since last August.

Dart left Rod Laver Arena in tears following the 63-minute demolition but five-time grand slam champion Sharapova had no sympathy for the 22-year-old post-match.

Denmark's Wozniacki broke through for her first Slam title here a year ago, beating Simona Halep in the final, and gets her tournament under way against Belgium's Alison van Uytvanck. "I'm confident that I think it needs a good performance by my opponent probably to beat me", said Federer, the third seed.

"I'm just excited. I think it's a positive to be here as the defending champion. I was glad that I did the right things from the beginning till the end".

Sharapova, who won the Australian Open in 2008, will meet Swede Rebecca Peterson in the second round.

Also advancing were 2017 U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens, No. 11 Aryna Sabalenka, No. 19 Caroline Garcia, No. 29 Donna Vekic and No. 31 Petra Martic. The new rule was introduced to ensure matches don't get too lengthy - previously the third set in women's matches and the fifth set in men's matches at the Australian Open had to be decided by a two-game advantage.

The Spaniard was speaking to reporters after his 6-4 6-3 7-5 first round win against local hope James Duckworth on Monday.

Wimbledon semi-finalist Isner fell at the first hurdle at Melbourne Park for the second year in a row, having been beaten by unseeded Australian Matthew Ebden in a major shock last year.

Katie Boulter earned the distinction of winning the first 10-point tiebreaker under the Australian Open's new system for deciding sets. She went on to beat Russia's Ekaterina Makarova 6-0, 4-6, 7-6 (10/6).



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