Melbourne, Victoria, 22 January 2020 | David Cox

Wildcard Astra Sharma was unable to live up to her fine showing at last year’s Australian Open, going down 6-0 6-2 to 28th seed Anett Kontaveit.

In 2019, Sharma won through three rounds of qualifying at Melbourne Park, before ousting compatriot Priscilla Hon in the opening round. However this time round, the gulf between the young Aussie ranked world No.111, and the experienced Estonian, proved too much.

On a blustery Wednesday morning, Sharma struggled to settle with the gusting winds sweeping across Court 8, affecting her usual rhythm from the back of the court.

Kontaveit, a vastly experienced player who made the fourth round in 2018 and has been as high as No.14 in the rankings, took full advantage, taking charge of the rallies with her powerful forehand.

She swept through the opening set in just 19 minutes, until Sharma managed to steady the ship. The 24-year-old Aussie put up a sterner fight in the second set and while she dropped her serve to go 4-1 down, she had a series of chances to break back in the seventh game. However, Kontaveit was determined not to let her back in the match and fired down a series of powerful serves before closing things out.

Sharma’s attention will now turn to the doubles where she will be hoping to repeat her memorable exploits of last year, going all the way to the mixed doubles final alongside John-Patrick Smith.