Former champs Sharapova, Kerber into 2nd round in Australia

Lawrence Cooper
January 18, 2018

"I felt like I have got a lot of things out of the way physically and emotionally and mentally previous 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'm happy I dodged some questions there".

"I really think she doesn't care what the crowd will do or say because criticism does not bother Maria". "I cherish these moments, I love it".

It is her most successful Grand Slam, but after an injury-marred lead-up to the tournament she fell, 6-4, 7-5, to the 123rd-ranked Pera, who is playing her first Australian Open.

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.

She opened the year by winning four singles matches at the Hopman Cup, where Germany lost the final to Switzerland, and won the Sydney International last week for her first title since the 2016 U.S. Open.

Anastasija Sevastova and Maria Sharapova met twice past year, once at the US Open and the other at the China Open.

One wrote: "Had to look twice to make sure Maria Sharapova wasn't playing herself".

She said: "I just want to wait for tomorrow, to see how I wake up".

"I'm hoping for it to go well again".

"Even though we're not feeling good, we can still find a way and eventually play good again, whereas others would struggle early on and it becomes more hard".

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Keys, the 17th seed, had a 6-1, 7-5 win over Wang Qiang.

The viral reports suggested that the former World number one was willing to boycott next year's Australian Open to get his demands met.

The American said he felt the same as Nadal after a lengthy 2017 - physically spent and lacking enough of an off-season to recover fully. "Shows how much depth we have in the women's game right now".

Djokovic - seeded an unfamiliar 14th - helped to set the tone with a 6-1 6-2 6-4 victory over America's Young, before denying speculation of a potential Australian Open boycott next year over the distribution of money generated by grand slam events.

The Wimbledon champion Garbiñe Muguruza fell out of the tournament after being beaten, 7-6 (1), 6-4, by Hsieh Su-wei.

Former world No. 1 Karolina Pliskova advanced by beating Veronica Cepede Royg 6-3, 6-4.

No. 13 Sam Querrey restored some order for the USA men with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 win over Feliciano Lopez, advancing to the second round.

Roberto Bautista Agut was another seeded casualty, losing in straight sets to Fernando Verdasco.

Meanwhile, there were several upsets as Milos Raonic and Roberto Bautista Agut were knocked out by Lukas Lacko and Fernando Verdasco, respectively; in the women's draw, Andrea Petkovic beat Petra Kvitova 6-3, 4-6, 10-8 in a three-hour epic.

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