Australian Open: Harriet Dart loses to Iga Swiatek in Melbourne

Australian Open: Harriet Dart loses to Iga Swiatek in Melbourne
_122750209_dart.jpgHarriet Dart has not yet beaten a top-10 player, having lost five times against those opponentsDates: 17-30 January Venue: Melbourne ParkCoverage: Daily radio commentaries on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, BBC Sport website and app, with selected live text commentaries online; TV highlights from middle Saturday.

British qualifier Harriet Dart was unable to maintain a strong start as she lost in the Australian Open first round to seventh seed Iga Swiatek.

Dart, 25, broke for a 2-1 lead in the first set as she settled quickly and hurt Swiatek with some classy winners.

But Poland's Swiatek, 20, found her rhythm, winning five games in a row to turn the match in her favour.

The 2020 French Open champion continued her high level in a one-sided second set to wrap up a 6-3 6-0 victory.

After coming through Melbourne qualifying for the third time in her career, 123rd-ranked Dart was handed another plum first-round draw which again put her on Rod Laver Arena.

A chastening experience on her debut in the 15,000-seater arena saw 2008 champion Maria Sharapova show no mercy in a 6-0 6-0 thrashing three years ago.

In 2019, she pushed former world number one Simona Halep before succumbing to a 6-2 6-4 defeat.

Drawing one of the WTA Tour's rising stars put Dart back on Laver and hoping for better results than her two previous appearances.

With the benefit of having won five matches at Melbourne Park in a warm-up tournament and qualifying, Dart started confidently before Swiatek's quality shone through.

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