Maria Sharapova of Russia celebrates winning her first round match against Tatjana Maria of Germany
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The Russian was making her first appearance at the Australian Open since 2016 having served a ban for a doping violation and rattled off the first set in just over half an hour.
Sharapova, a winner of the Australian Open in 2008 and currently the world No. 48, faced more resistance in the second set from the player sitting one place above her in the WTA rankings.
But a break to make it 4-3 in the second set gave Sharapova an advantage she did not relinquish.
There was plenty of support from the crowd at the Margaret Court Arena as Sharapova goes about rebuilding her Grand Slam career following her enforced break from the game.
Sharapova, who won the title 10 years ago, dropped serve to lose her only game in the opening set, although the rallies were often drawn out with Maria showing tenacious scrambling skills.
She was made to work harder in the second but sealed victory with an ace to book a second round against either 14th seed Anastasija Sevastova or Varvara Lepchenko.
"It's been a couple of years since I've been here so I wanted to enjoy the moment and it was really meaningful to be out here today," Sharapova said in a post-match interview.
"I've got shivers, I cherish these moments."
Bradley Wiggins (Stage 19, 2012)