Maria Sharapova has waltzed into the second round of the Australian Open, testing out her injured forearm in a 6-1 6-3 dismissal of Nao Hibino.
Sharapova pulled out of her Brisbane International title defence earlier this month after hurting her left arm in a practice session.
There were few signs of discomfort from the Russian veteran in Melbourne on Monday, when she nailed 11 aces and took 73 minutes to end Hibino’s maiden grand slam.
“I’m feeling really good, which is a positive,” Sharapova said courtside, when asked about her arm.
“I’m just happy to finish off today.
“I haven’t played many matches in many weeks .. I’m quite pleased with the way I was able to play in my first match.”
Sharapova, who won the Open in 2008 and finished runner-up in 2015, next faces world No.105 Aliaksandra Sasnovich from Belarus.
The 28-year-old could be forgiven for instead having thoughts of potential quarter-final opponent Serena Williams in the back of her mind.
The pair will meet in the round of eight if they advance to the second week of the tournament.
Williams has won her past 17 matches against Sharapova, including last year’s final at Melbourne Park.
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