- Australian Open
Sharapova, Azarenka and Wozniacki all through
Maria Sharapova began her quest for the Australian Open title with a straight sets victory over American Bethani Mattek-Sands.
Sharapova won 6-3 6-4 in an hour and 38 minutes, but there was an air of relief when the match was finally over as the Russian's fell further from form as the match wore on.
She raced into a 4-0 lead in the first set before Mattek-Sands settled down, and the second set was a much more even affair, with Sharapova finally breaking in the ninth game to allow her to serve out the match.
Two-time and defending champion Victoria Azarenka saw off Johanna Larsson to reach the second round, while Caroline Wozniacki cruised to victory over Lourdes Dominguez Lino.
Azarenka was taken to a first set tiebreak by her opponent, but after 72 minutes it was the world No. 2 who took it 7-2, and then dropped just two games in the second set to complete the a 7-6(2) 6-2 win.
- Follow every shot from every match at the Australian Open with ESPN's CourtCast
"It's just so exciting to come back," Azarenka said. "Every time it's like the first time I play here."
For Wozniacki, the former world No. 1 had no problems against Dominguez Lino, winning 6-0 6-2.
Agnieszka Radwanska, who has reached the quarter-finals of the Australian Open for the past three years, was taken to a third set by Yulia Putintseva, but came through a 6-0 5-7 6-2.
Former world No. 1 Jelena Jankovic was a 6-1 6-2 winner over Misaki Doi, but ex-French Open champion Francesca Schiavone was beaten 6-3 6-4 by Dominika Cibulkova.