Easy win for Sharapova
Maria Sharapova dispelled any uncertainty over her fitness with a ruthless 6-0 6-0 demolition of Olga Puchkova at the Australian Open.
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The Russian was forced to pull out of the warm-up event in Brisbane after suffering a collarbone injury shortly before Christmas.
But in her first competitive match of 2013 she showed no signs of rustiness by brushing aside her Russian countrywoman in just 55 minutes.
Sharapova's dominance was only threatened in the early stages when Puchkova, ranked 107 in the world, held two break points in the opening game but the second seed gave an early demonstration of her physical state with two booming aces to avert the danger.
From there on in it was a procession as the first match of the tournament on the main show court - Rod Laver Arena - ended in a disappointing no-contest.
Sharapova reached the final last year before being crushed by world number one Victoria Azarenka and she is hoping to go one better this year and repeat her Melbourne triumph of 2008.
She said: "After a couple of close games I started to concentrate a bit better.
"I didn't want to focus on the fact I hadn't played a lot of matches but just focus on what was ahead of me and really be aggressive.
"Today was a good scoreline."
Although she didn't drop a game, Sharapova insisted there was still room for improvement.
"It's tough to feel completely satisfied," she said.
"You always want to improve on things and work on certain things that you feel will help you in the later rounds towards the end of the second week.
"But overall I was happy with the way I started considering I didn't play any matches coming in."