There were no major casualties on the women’s side of the draw on the opening day of the Australian Open at Melbourne Park.
There were no major casualties on the women’s side of the draw on the opening day of the Australian Open at Melbourne Park .
Seeded players Maria Sharapova , Agnieszka Radwanska, Angelique Kerber, Li Na and Samantha Stosur all enjoyed comfortable victories.
Second seed Sharapova showed no signs of the shoulder injury that prevented her from playing a competitive match before arriving in Melbourne , as she ruthlessly dispatched fellow Russian Olga Puchkova 6-0 6-0 in just 55 minutes.
Last year's finalist got off to a relatively slow start as she saved two break points in her opening service game at Rod Laver Arena .
But any signs of a closely fought match were quickly extinguished as the four-time grand slam champion broke her opponent twice on the way to a 5-0 lead.
She soon wrapped up the set and showed no signs of slowing down in the second, racing out to a 3-0 lead.
The world number 107 offered little resistance, with Sharapova punishing every short ball on her way to a comprehensive victory.
She will now play Japan's Misaki Doi in the second round after the world number 92 defeated Croatian Petra Martic 6-3 6-4.
Fourth seed Radwanska , who has yet to lose a match this year after winning tournaments in Auckland and Sydney , took a while to get going before overcoming Australian Bojana Bobusic 7-5 6-0.
Bobusic broke the Pole's serve three times in the opening set and had the chance to serve for it when she led 5-4.
But Radwanska finally found her range and after winning the next three games to take the set, the world number four carried that momentum into the second where she only lost nine points.
Kerber , seeded five, enjoyed a hard-fought victory against Ukrainian Elina Svitolina 6-2 6-4.
After cruising through the first set the German was made to work in the second as she fought back from 1-3 down to take the match in 77 minutes.
Sixth seed Li was also in fine form with a straightforward 6-1 6-3 victory over Kazakhstan's Sesil Karatantcheva at Margaret Court Arena .
The Chinese star cruised through the first set, before the world number 113 found her range in the second to trouble the former finalist.
Li's superior ground strokes came to the fore though, as she broke her opponent twice to seal her passage into the next round where she will meet Belarusian Olga Govortsova, who defeated Frenchwoman Pauline Parmentier 2-6 6-3 6-2.
Other non-seeded players to progress include Czech Kristyna Pliskova , Belgian Kirsten Flipkens , Romina Oprandi, Maria Joao Koehler, Valeria Savinykh and Alize Cornet , who outlasted Marina Erakovic 7-5 6-7 (3-7) 10-8 in a three-and-a-half hour epic.