• Australian Open, Day One, Women's Draw

Maria Sharapova first victim in Melbourne

ESPN staff
January 18, 2010

Maria Sharapova crashed out of the Australian Open at the first round, losing in three sets to fellow Russian Maria Kirilenko 7-6 3-6 6-4.

Making her first appearance in Melbourne since she cruised to the title two years ago without dropping a set, Sharapova was a shadow of her former self, serving 11 double faults and making 66 unforced errors as she lost in three sets to the world No.58.

However, Sharapova, who returns after a shoulder injury that kept her out of much of last season, was upbeat about her prospects.

"Just didn't win the match ... bottom line. I certainly had my chances and just didn't execute, "she said. "It's the first tournament of the year and I just came up against somebody that just played really good tennis. I could be disappointed or I could just take it as it is and just go back on the court and just keep working. I choose option two."

Belgian wildcard Justine Henin was in impressive form in her first Grand Slam in two years, easing past compatriot Kirsten Flipkens 6-4 6-3. However, she will face a tougher test in the next round, where she meet world No.5 Elena Dementieva, who beat Russian Vera Dushevina 6-2 6-1.

US Open champion Kim Clijsters continued her impressive comeback, easing past Canadian Valerie Tetreault 6-0 6-4, while second seed Dinara Safina made it safely through to the second round, beating Magdalena Rybarikova 6-4 6-4.

It was a good day for Britain as women's No.1 Elena Baltacha enjoyed a 6-4 3-6 7-5 victory over Pauline Parmentier of France. Baltacha will now face 30th seed Kateryna Bondarenko in the second round.

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