Australian Open - Highlights: Maria Sharapova v Harriet Dart - Australian

Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki trains. Edgar Su Reuters

Fifth seed Stephens defeated fellow American Taylor Townsend 6-4 6-2 for her first victory at Melbourne Park since 2014, while Sharapova revealed that, despite not losing a game in a smooth performance against Dart, she is still struggling with her troublesome shoulder.

The Dane took some time to get into her stride against her Belgian opponent, who had stunned another defending champion, Garbine Muguruza, at Wimbledon past year. "I mean, there is no time for that, I'm sorry to say".

"It was good. It is normal that beginnings are tough, but every day helps and every day makes me feel better, makes me feel more confident", said Nadal, who limped out of both the Australian and US Opens a year ago.

Nadal's 6-4, 6-3, 7-5 win over the Australian was the first men's clash on Rod Laver Arena for the tournament.

But Germany's 14th seed Julia Goerges was knocked out, as was former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko.

The third set didn't start like the others with the first break of serve going to Nadal at 4-2.

Katie Boulter earned the distinction of winning the first 10-point tiebreaker under the Australian Open's new system for deciding sets, and she celebrated twice.

"I think it's shown the depth that is in Australian tennis on the female side".

Rafale Nadal during the 2019 Australian Open.

Rafael Nadal and Maria Sharapova are two of the greats of the game - but both players will step onto Rod Laver Arena on Monday with an air of uncertainty surrounding them.

The Australian Open has not seen a home female victor since 1978 but many believe Barty could be the one to break that run, her impressive showing in Sydney prior to the first slam adding fuel to the fire.

The 17-time major champion had 38 winners and only 11 unforced errors against the luckless Duckworth, who has undergone countless bouts of foot surgery in recent years.

Isner went up a break in the fourth set and served to force a fifth while ahead 5-4.

Wozniacki, who is battling rheumatoid arthritis, sealed the match with a forehand victor on her third matchpoint and will next meet Sweden's Johanna Larsson, who progressed after Vera Lapko of Belarus retired while trailing 7-6 (5), 3-0.

The 31-year-old Russian arrived at Melbourne Park as the 30th seed but said she still had the desire to succeed at a tournament she has won once, in 2008, and made the final a further three times. He'll play another Australian, Matthew Ebden, next.

Tomas Berdych picked up a surprisingly easy victory over the 13th-seeded Kyle Edmund, a 2018 Australian Open semifinalist, beating him 6-3, 6-0, 7-5.

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