Russia's Maria Sharapova returns the ball during the first-round match of women's singles of Australian Open Tennis Championships against Nao Hibino of Japan at .... Image Source: Xinhua

Melbourne, Jan 20 : World No.5 Maria Sharapova continued her dominating performance at the Australian Open tennis tournament, taking out unseeded Aliaksandra Sasnovich, 6-2, 6-1, here on Wednesday.

Sharapova lost a gruelling seventh game when serving from the opening set, but Sasnovich could not consolidate the break, and won just one more game in the match that lasted 71 minutes.

"It's great to be back on this court after a great run last year," said Sharapova after the match.

"I had an opponent that I had never played before today; that's always tricky, but I'm happy that I got through," the Russian added.

The former No.1 hit 22 winners and committed 24 errors, dropping just six points behind her first serve.

The match was played in vastly different conditions from her first round contest, when temperatures soared to an overwhelming degree.

"That's what we have to expect in Melbourne, and that's one of the toughest challenges of this tournament. The weather changes. Overall, I'm just happy that I could get the match in because I know many players are waiting for the rain to stop."
Next up for Sharapova is young American Lauren Davis, who reached the Australian Open third round for the second time.

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