Having been out of action since August due to a right shoulder injury, not many knew what to expect from Sharapova - but she certainly delivered, never facing a break point in eight service games and breaking four times en route to a 63 60 win over Caroline Garcia. The second set took 25 minutes.
"I think I was just really determined to get back on the court," Sharapova said. "It's been a while. I think the whole team was really ready to go out. I knew I was going to play Monday night a little bit ago already. I got goosebumps when I heard because I was looking forward to today even a week ago.
"It's those days you work for. It was a big step to come and a big step to play out there tonight."
The No.3-seeded Sharapova was given a warm reception as she took center court under the lights.
"It's been three or four years in the making, so when I was walking out on the court I was like, 'Whew, that took a while.' Last year I had a few practices but didn't end up playing. But it's just as exciting for me as it is for the fans that came to watch me play. I've been meaning to play this tournament for a long time. Poor tournament director, Cam - he doesn't believe it until I walk out on the court anymore!"
Jelena Jankovic, the No.4 seed, had it much tougher against Francesca Schiavone, rallying from 4-2 down in the second set and even fighting off a set point later on in the set but closing it out, 62 76(6).
"Obviously her and Serena are two of the best players in the world, so to come up against Vika in the second round, obviously I'm not expected to win," Dellacqua said. "I will just go out there. I feel at this point in my career, that I get to play an opponent like Vika is just a great opportunity, and I'm going to enjoy the moment in front of the Australian crowd and just try and do what I do well out there."