Hello and welcome to the live coverage of round 1 of Australian Open 2019 which is set to begin in a few hours at the Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne Park.
Sharapova is a five time Grand Slam champion and will look to begin on a successful note in today’s match in order to gradually inch closer towards the title. The last time Sharapova played in the Australian Open final was back in 2015 where she was eventually defeated by Serena Williams.
Dart, on the other hand, has qualified for a Slam for the first time following her Slam debut at Wimbledon 2018 via wildcard. Interestingly, she considers the draw as her ‘dream come true’ because she has idolized Sharapova ever since she was a little girl.
Rafael Nadal will walk into this year’s first Slam as World No. 2. After he had to walk away from last year’s Australian Open while he was facing Marin Cilic in the quarter-final, Nadal is now all set to unleash the beast after complete restoration to health. He was not available during the warm-up sessions owing to his thigh injury but assured that he will be at his best on Matchday 1 of the ‘Happy’ Slam.
Both Nadal and Roger Federer are in the same draw which implies that only one of the two can proceed to the final. Hence, Nadal will aim to meet his arch-rival in the semi-final.
Facing him in the first round will be Australia’s James Duckworth. The latter has been ranked in Top 100 only once, back in 2015. Will this wildcard entrant have an answer for Nadal’s new serve? Let’s find out.