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Australian Open gets underway as Maria Sharapova dismisses Harriet Dart

  • Russian veteran wins 6-0, 6-0 in opening match
  • ‘Youngsters are taking our place, but not just yet’

There would be no fairytale debut for Harriet Dart when she shared the honour of opening the 2019 Australian Open in the sweltering Rod Laver Arena with the player she admires more than any other, Maria Sharapova. The Russian, no sentimentalist, ruthlessly hammered out a double bagel in just 63 minutes.

In the tunnel on their way on to the tournament’s showpiece battleground, they passed an inscription attributed to the man after whom the space is named. It reads: “Your game is at its most vulnerable when you’re ahead. Stay focused.”

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