Australian Open: Mayar Sherif makes Egyptian tennis history with first round win

The 24-year-old claimed a 7-5, 7-5 win over fellow qualifier Chloe Paquet to become the first Egyptian woman to win a Grand Slam main draw match

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Mayar Sherif made history at the Australian Open on Tuesday after her 7-5, 7-5 first round victory over Chloe Paquet made her the first Egyptian woman to win a Grand Slam main draw match.

The 24-year-old Sherif, who made her Grand Slam main draw debut at Roland Garros last year, emerged victorious in a battle of the qualifiers and will face another qualifier in the second round when she takes on Kaja Juvan. The Slovenian progressed after British 13th seed Johanna Konta retired injured.

"Obviously it means a lot because finally this is a barrier that I had to pass, a mental barrier," Sherif told reporters.

"With the conditions that are here it was very, very tough to adapt to it, especially to adapt my game to it. It took us awhile. Courts are faster, the heat, everything happens so fast, very tough to control the ball.

"Very, very happy with my accomplishment and I'm going for more. That's it."

Sherif said being a trailblazer for Egyptian sport had been a motivating factor in her career.

"I feel very supported from the Egyptian people, from my partners, my sponsors," the world No 131 added. "It's been great, and honestly it's just pushing me forward and forward because I feel that there are so many people behind me."

Sherif, who qualified in Dubai before making her way to Melbourne for quarantine, said she was regularly recognised on the streets back home and hoped to inspire other Egyptians to believe they can succeed in tennis.

"I want them to believe in themselves and to see me and look at me and say that we can be like her," she said.

"When someone tells me, 'Oh, I wish one day to be like you', I go, 'No, you have to be better, you have to achieve something more, you have to go for more'."

Top seed Ashleigh Barty was also in first round action on Day Two and she served Danka Kovinic a dreaded 'double bagel', humiliating the error-prone Montenegrin 6-0 6-0.

"This is what it's all about, this is incredible," the Australian said to cheers from the crowd. "It's impossible not to enjoy a night session on this beautiful court."

On the men's side there were no major shocks, with world No 2 Rafael Nadal, US Open champion Daniil Medvedev, and fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas all recording routine straight-sets wins.

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