Maria Sharapova enjoys winning return to Australian Open, Milos Raonic crashes out

Maria Sharapova enjoys winning return to Australian Open, Milos Raonic crashes out

Who is Maria Sharapova playing in the first round of the Australian Open? .

Eighth seed Caroline Garcia was forced to battle before eventually coming through a tough contest against Germany's Carina Witthoeft 7-5 6-3 while 29th seed Lucie Safarova also reached the second round accounting for Australian wild card Ajla Tomljanovic and 16th seed Elena Vesnina was a comfortable victor over Ons Jabeur.

"She has a lot of characteristics like Maria", says Joyce.

Raonic is a former Wimbledon finalist and has reached at least the quarterfinals at Melbourne Park the last three years. "He also coaches with a lot of feel, a lot of intuition, and so far I'm really enjoying spending time with him".

Injuries and controversy over wildcards often took the focus away from her game, although the end of the season saw her enjoy a good run at the US Open, before winning a title in Tianjin.

The five-time major champion served a 15-month ban having tested positive for meldonium. The German will know that she will need a miracle to make it to the round of 64 of this competition but I am sure that she will want to put up a good fight.

Photo Sharapova had plenty of fans excited to greet her after her first-round win on Tuesday.

Sharapova - victor of the Australian Open in 2008 - enjoyed a successful comeback at Melbourne Park, defeating spirited German Maria 6-1, 6-4.

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"When I was a teenager I didn't think I would be playing past 30, definitely not, and here I am", she said.

Maria made Sharapova sweat, particularly in a tight second set, but the bigger challenges lie ahead: in the next round either Varvara Lepchenko or the crafty Anastasija Sevastova, who beat Sharapova at last year's U.S. Open. "However many matches I win or lose in between that is not going to change the course that I feel I'm on".

Konta is the ninth seed and will open her campaign on Tuesday against American Madison Brengle.

But a break to make it 4-3 in the second set gave Sharapova an advantage she did not relinquish.

Sixth seed Karolina Pliskova progressed to the Australian Open second round with a straight-set victory over Paraguay's Veronica Cepede Royg.

She played the Brisbane International two weeks ago with her new coach, Thomas Krupa.

Defending champion Roger Federer continues his quest for a 20th Grand Slam singles title and top-seeded Simona Halep starts another bid for her first when both see action on Day Two at the Australian Open.

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