Sharapova cruises to opening-round win over Martic

Maria Sharapova lost only five games en route to her first-round victory.

Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

MELBOURNE, Australia — Second-seeded Maria Sharapova concluded an opening day of matches on Rod Laver Arena with a 6-4, 6-1 win Monday over Croatian player Petra Martic at the Australian Open.

Sharapova, who began the season by winning the Brisbane International title, broke Martic’s service in the last game of the opening set and then dominated the second. She’ll play fellow Russian Alexandra Panova, a qualifier, in the second round.

Last year, Sharapova reached the fourth round at three Grand Slam tournaments — the Australian Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open — along with winning her fifth career major at the French Open.

A successful title run at Melbourne Park could see Sharapova supplant Serena Williams at No. 1.