Russian Tennis phenomenon Maria Sharapova played her very first match of the 2016 tennis season at The Australian Open in Melbourne as the 5th seed and won in straight sets over Japanese player Nao Hibino. The 6-1, 6-3 victory took the former Grand Slam winner 1 hour and 13 minutes to accomplish her victory at the first of the four major tournaments played each year by tennis professionals ranked high enough to earn a spot at each competition.

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A left forearm injury obtained in regular practice prevented the Russian from competing in the Brisbane event that many top players participated in before The Australian Open.

Sharapova has an almost perfect Grand Slam first round record

In what seems to be an almost unbelievable accomplishment, Maria Sharapova has won 46 of her previous 47 first rounds at Grand Slam competitions. Sharapova's only loss in the first round was in 2010 at the Australian Open to Maria Kirilenko.

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It's been reported that while Sharapova had not previously heard much about her first round opponent, the Japanese Nao Hibino is a huge fan of the Russian player and has posters of her all over her walls. Sharapova noted of Hibino that, "For a first Grand Slam performance I thought she was there till the end. That's impressive. She never let in, never gave up."

Some seeds advance to the second round

The No.

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1 seed Serena Williams from the USA won her match in straight sets against Camila Gorgi and the No. 6 seed and former Wimbledon champ Petra Kivitika won her match against the Thai qualifier Luksika Kumkhum. The No. 4 seed Radwanska beat out her rival Christina McHale in straight sets 6-2, 6-3 but former No. 1 player Caroline Wozniacki, who was the No. 16 seed at The Australian Open this year, lost her footing to Yulia Putinseva in a three set match that ended at 1-6, 7-6(3), 6-4.

Wozniacki fans certainly are disappointed in the result and looked forward to seeing if the right-handed player from Denmark could go the distance this year at The Australian Open.

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