Tennis news - GB's Harriet Dart handed lesson by Maria Sharapova, Heather Watson also out
Harriet Dart was given a sobering lesson by Maria Sharapova on the opening day of the Australian Open as she failed to pick up a single game.
The 22-year-old Londoner lost after opening up play on Rod Laver Arena, having qualified last week.
Although she had a game point in the fifth game of the second set, she squandered that and all her other opportunities against the player she considers her idol.
Match point summed up the match with Dart failing to put away a simple backhand volley to hand the Russian five-time Grand Slam champion, and No 30 seed, victory.
The humiliation had Dart weeping as she beat a hasty exit and Sharapova had little sympathy for the 22-year-old after her nightmare debut at Melbourne Park.
"I mean, there is no time for that, I'm sorry to say," the 2008 winner said.
"But when you're playing the first round of a Grand Slam -- I have been in many positions, last year Wimbledon I came out against a qualifier that played really well.
" You know, there is no doubt that my level wasn't where I wanted it to be, but she was there to take the match."
"So I'm not so much worried about my opponent, but I have to step up when the time is right and when I need to, so that's my main goal."
Dart, who made her Grand Slam debut at Wimbledon as a wildcard but made 21 unforced errors against Sharapova, was clearly devastated after the loss.
"Tried some things -- didn't work," the misty-eyed Briton said, barely able to raise her voice above a whisper.
"She doesn't really give you anything... It's just unfortunate I didn't get on the board."
Heather Watson did not fare much better than her countrywoman.
The Briton never got into her rhythm against the Croatian No 31 seed Petra Martic and fell 6-1 6-2.
Although she had two break points in the third game of the second set, Watson failed to take advantage and ended up losing in just over an hour.
She was also forced to speak to the trainer on a couple of occasions, with the heat seeming to take its toll.
Sharapova will face Rebecca Peterson, with Martic to play either Evgeniya Rodina or Marketa Vondrousova in the second round.
Additional reporting: Reuters