Scintillating Sharapova storms past Hibino

Updated: 

Maria Sharapova showed few signs of rustiness as she romped to a 6-1 6-3 win over Nao Hibino in the Australian Open first round on Monday.

The fifth seed had not played a competitive match in the build-up to the first grand slam of 2016, having withdrawn from the Brisbane International due to an arm injury.

It was also Sharapova's first slam appearance since the semi-finals of Wimbledon after a leg strain kept her out of last year's US Open, but the Russian's typically powerful ground strokes and baseline dominance punished Hibino and the match was sewn up in just 73 minutes.

Hibino made a poor start as she went long with a forehand to gift Sharapova the first break. The Japanese was under the cosh again in game six and, although she saved four break points, a vicious backhand drew a double-break lead for Sharapova.

The 2008 Australian Open champion broke again at the start of the second set and it was quickly a double-break lead when Hibino put a forehand long, a simple Sharapova hold then making it 4-0.

Hibino drew a big cheer from the Margaret Court Arena crowd when she fought back from 15-40 to finally get on the scoreboard in the second set, and Sharapova uncharacteristically wasted three match points at 5-2 up to give the world number 56 a glimmer of hope.

But that was soon stifled as Sharapova broke straight back, ending the match with a cross-court forehand.

 

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN

Sharapova [5] bt Hibino 6-1 6-3

ACES

Sharapova - 11

Hibino - 1

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Sharapova - 28/21

Hibino - 11/18

BREAK POINTS WON

Sharapova - 5/15

Hibino - 1/1

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE

Sharapova - 61

Hibino - 72

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE

Sharapova - 86/44

Hibino - 42/53

TOTAL POINTS

Sharapova - 65

Hibino - 41