Sharapova missed last year’s tournament because of her ban for the use of a banned substance. REUTERS/Issei Kato
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Maria Sharapova returns to Rod Laver Arena for the first time since her drug ban for a second round match against Anastasija Sevastova Thursday as players, officials and fans alike prepare for sweltering heat at the Australian Open.Sharapova lost a fourth round match in three sets to Sevastova on her return to Grand Slam tennis at the U.S. Open last year but got a measure of revenge in another tight clash at the China Open.Another former champion, Novak Djokovic, is also likely to have his patience tested in his second match on the same court later in the day with mercurial Frenchman Gael Monfils having made something of a specialty of producing the unexpected.
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