Federer and Sharapova shine after seeds scattered

Mon Jan 19, 2015 7:51am EST
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By Ian Ransom

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Roger Federer and Maria Sharapova glittered under the Rod Laver Arena lights on Monday, restoring order at the Australian Open after eight women's seeds crashed out in the afternoon sun on a manic opening day.

The evergreen Federer strolled into the second round with a classy 6-4 6-2 7-5 win over Taiwan's Lu Yen-Hsun before fellow second seed Sharapova ruined Croatian qualifier Petra Martic's 24th birthday with a 6-4 6-1 victory.

Rafa Nadal and Andy Murray also enjoyed comfortable wins as three of the men's 'Big Four' shook out the early-season rust.

Although the retired Li Na is not defending her singles title, the glowing Chinese stole the spotlight from the players when she announced she was expecting her first child with husband and former coach Jiang Shan.

"I think Dennis (Jiang) is doing a good job. He just made one ace," said the 32-year-old crowd favorite on the Rod Laver Arena, sparking cheers from the terraces.

The hole left by the twice grand slam champion's absence is begging to be filled and a rejuvenated Sharapova, dressed to kill in a smart red outfit, looked the part in a controlled display against the outgunned Martic.

Federer joined Sharapova in the winners' circle at the Brisbane International this month and, on his coach Stefan Edberg's 49th birthday, the Swiss notched his 1,001st tour win.

"Winning in the first round, it's always a bit of a relief. I thought I played good," the 33-year-old told reporters after dashing around the court like a frantic teenager against the 47th-ranked Lu.   Continued...

Roger Federer of Switzerland hits a return against Lu Yen-Hsun of Taiwan during their men's singles first round match at the Australian Open 2015 tennis tournament in Melbourne January 19, 2015. REUTERS/Carlos Barria