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Happy return for 2008 champ Maria Sharapova at Australian Open

18 January 2018, 01:55 | Stacy Ballard

Happy return for 2008 champ Maria Sharapova at Australian Open

Happy return for 2008 champ Maria Sharapova at Australian Open

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Now, just like Federer in 2016, Djokovic shut down his season after Wimbledon a year ago and returned at the Open uncertain about his chances.

It will be a meeting of the only two former champions in the women's draw, with Sharapova lifting the trophy a decade ago while Kerber was the victor in 2016.

She backed it up by being crowned US Open champion and began 2017 as world number one, before her form deserted her and she slumped to 21st by the end of the season.

She said: "I felt like I got a lot of things out of the way physically and emotionally and mentally a year ago".

The heat was intensifying earlier when six-time champion Novak Djokovic extended his personal streak against Gael Monfils to 15-0 with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-1, 6-3 victory in which both players slouched over in the shade at the back of the court between points. "I know that you guys are trying to take this forward several steps". I was absent for for one month maximum at any time in tennis and not missed a Grand Slam.

No. 123-ranked Pera is making her Grand Slam debut and, after losing in the last round of qualifying, didn't even know she had a spot in the main draw until Monday when Russia's Margarita Gasparyan withdrew with an injury.

Muguruza acknowledged that the heat was bothersome, but it wasn't the hottest conditions she'd experienced in Australia. "I want to see where I am on that level".

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.

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Djokovic routed 63rd-ranked American Donald Young 6-1 6-2 6-4 at Margaret Court Arena to reach the second round at Melbourne Park, his first match since retiring with elbow trouble during the Wimbledon quarter-finals.

"I love Australia. I love the summertime".

"I'm anxious it won't be as good as last year, I'm a year older and guys are coming back".

Tennis is beginning to feel like business as usual again for Maria Sharapova. "A lot of things to smile about".

Sharapova is confident she's prepared again for a major. "I played ideal tennis, like I never stopped".

"I think that's why it's very interesting to follow the comebacks of the great players that have been injured: Stan (Wawrinka), Novak of course this week".

"I thought he looked very good".

The former world number one said she had learned to be comfortable with all the attention.

Sharapova had no interest in responding to claims it was inappropriate, saying only: "I was invited to be part of the draw by (tournament director) Craig Tiley and the tournament organisation, and I kindly accepted". Of course, I was thinking about it as it was my favourite tournament of the year by far.

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