Dominant World No 2 Maria Sharapova became the first person to score two double bagel Grand Slam wins in a row since 1985 yesterday, but said statistics were not important.
The Russian second seed raced into the Australian Open third round in just 47 minutes, handing a tennis lesson to young Japanese Misaki Doi in a one-sided rout. The 2008 champion and runner-up last year hardly raised a sweat in trouncing the 21-year-old 6-0, 6-0 and has now won won 24 games in a row after also scoring a rare whitewash against her first round opponent.
It is a feat that hasn’t been achieved by a woman at a Grand Slam since Wendy Turnbull at the Australian Open in 1985, but Sharapova said she was only interested in winning. “It’s not really the statistic I want to be known for. I want to be known for winning Grand Slam titles, not that I won two matches 6-0, 6-0,” she said. Doi, ranked 97, was always going to struggle and appeared to be overawed by the occasion, having no answers to Sharapova’s power and precision shot-making.
Venus ousts Cornet
Seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams disposed of Alize Cornet in straight sets yesterday to set up a tantalising third round clash with Sharapova.
The 32-year-old, playing her 18th year on tour, drew on all her experience to ease past the Frenchwoman 6-3, 6-3 on centre court in 77 minutes.
Williams has been battling injury and illness in the past two years and her ranking has dropped. But she has clawed her way back to be 26 and ended last year by claiming her 44th career title in Luxemburg. She knows she will have to dig deep against Sharapova, who has won 27 titles and is hungry for more.
“I look at the draw, I’m not superstitious. I play Maria and I better bring my best game against her,” she said immediately after the match.
Sharapova has the edge in head-to-heads, leading 4-3 with their most recent meeting on clay in Rome last year, when she won 6-4, 6-3.
“There are certainly no secrets coming into that match-up. We’ve played against each other many times,” said Sharapova, the 2008 Australian champion.
“Despite the fact that she might not be seeded high or didn’t play for a little bit, she’s still a very experienced player and a tremendous athlete.
“Going out there, there won’t be too many secrets. I hope for it to be a great match,” she added.
Williams said she was not fazed by Sharapova’s form and her consecutive double bagels.
“I don’t think about things that way. I play the ball. There’s going to be days when you play great and win, and there’s going to be days when you play not as great and you win,” she said.
“Whatever day that is, you have to win. It’s not about for me I have to play perfect every match. I don’t have that mentality,” she said.
At a glance
>> Agnieszka Radwanska (POL x4) bt Irina-Camelia Begu (ROM) 6-3, 6-3
>> Angelique Kerber (GER x5) bt Lucie Hradecka (CZE) 6-3, 6-1
>> Li Na (CHN x6) bt Olga Govortsova (BLR) 6-2, 7-5
>> Zheng Jie (CHN) bt Samantha Stosur (AUS x9) 6-4, 1-6, 7-5
>> Ana Ivanovic (SRB x13) bt Chan Yung-Jan (TPE) 7-5, 1-6, 6-4
>> Nicolas Almagro (ESP x10) bt Daniel Gimeno-Traver (ESP) 6-4, 6-1, 6-2
>> Tomas Berdych (CZE x5) bt Guillaume Rufin (FRA) 6-2, 6-2, 6-4
>> David Ferrer (ESP x4) bt Tim Smyczek (USA) 6-0, 7-5, 4-6, 6-3
>>Janko Tipsarevic (SRB x8) bt Lukas Lacko (SVK) 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 7-5