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Kirilenko shocks Sharapova in Melbourne

Maria Kirilenko created the first shock of this year's Australian Open with an epic victory over fellow-Russian Maria Sharapova.
Maria Kirilenko created the first shock of this year's Australian Open with an epic victory over fellow-Russian Maria Sharapova.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Former champion Maria Sharapova is the biggest name to fall in the first round of the Australian Open
  • The Russian is beaten 7-6 3-6 6-4 by compatriot Maria Kirilenko in a match lasting over three hours
  • Justine Henin and Elena Dementieva both through to set up a mouth- watering second round showdown
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(CNN) -- Former champion Maria Sharapova was the biggest name to fall as she lost an epic three-set match with fellow-Russian Maria Kirilenko on a wet and windy opening day at the Australian Open.

Sharapova committed 66 unforced errors to lose 7-6 3-6 6-4 in a match that lasted a marathon three hours and 21 minutes.

It was a disappointing early exit for 14th seed Sharapova and continued a poor recent run in majors after she lost in the second round at Wimbledon and third round at the U.S. Open last year.

The 2008 winner told reporters. "I could be disappointed or I could take it as it is and just go back on the court and keep working.

"I choose option two. It's just a bad day. A bad day's not going to stop me from doing what I love.

"I'm still going to go back on the court and work hard and perform. I'll be back here on a Saturday of the second week, so you watch."

The anticipated second-round clash between returning Belgian Justin Henin and fifth seed Elena Dementieva will occur after they both negotiated the first round.

Henin made her return to a grand slam after a 20-month retirement by beating compatriot Kirsten Flipkens 6-4 6-3, before Dementieva conceded just three games to see off Vera Dushevina 6-2 6-1.

Both players are in form with wild card entrant Henin reaching the final at Brisbane a fortnight ago in her first tournament back, while Dementieva won the Sydney International last week after beating world number one Serena Williams in the final.

Henin's fellow-returning Belgian Kim Clijsters hardly needed to raise a sweat as she beat Canadian qualifier Valerie Tetreault 6-0 6-4.

The U.S. Open champion raced through the opening set in just 23 minutes, and while she took her foot off the accelerator in the second, the match was always within the 15th seed's keeping.

Last year's runner-up and second seed Dinara Safina was made to battle for her first win beating Magdalena Rybarikova 6-4 6-4 in 89 minutes, while fellow-Russian and third seed Svetlana Kuznetsova was a straight-sets winner over Anastasia Rodionova 6-1 6-2.