Thursday January 17, 2013
Sweet for Sharapova but sour for Stosur
A DOMINANT Maria Sharapova routed another hapless opponent yesterday as ninth seed Samantha Stosur flopped out of the Australian Open, amid increasing speculation about Serena Williams’ fitness.
The Russian world number two handed a tennis lesson to young Japanese Misaki Doi in a one-sided 6-0, 6-0 rout to book a blockbuster third round clash with seven-time Grand Slam winner Venus Williams.
Sharapova also thrashed her first round challenger 6-0, 6-0 to become the first woman since Wendy Turnbull at the Australian Open in 1985 to bag two double bagel Grand Slam wins in a row.
“I was just really trying to be focused. I didn’t know too much about my opponent; just knew she was a few inches shorter than I was,” she said.
“But it’s always tough, especially when you’re up a set and a couple of breaks to keep that momentum.”
Next up is Venus Williams, who disposed of France’s Alize Cornet in straight sets.
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.
She knows she will have to dig deep against Sharapova.
“I look at the draw, I’m not superstitious.
“I play Maria and I better bring my best game against her,” she said. Venus’ sister Serena is due on court today against Spain’s Garbine Muguruza. The defiant 15-time Grand Slam champion, a hot tournament favourite, claimed only a “fatal” injury would prevent her contesting the second round..
Australia’s Stosur threw away the last five games to hand China’s Zheng Jie passage in her match, admitting she choked.
Stosur, who suffered first-round flops at WTA events in Brisbane and Sydney this year, was leading 5-2 in the third set but collapsed and double faulted to hand Zheng Jie a 6-4, 1-6, 7-5 victory.
“Whatever word you want to put on it, at 5-2 up in the third, double break probably is a bit of a choke, yeah,” she said.
Elsewhere, fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska built on her sizzling start to the season to progress along with Chinese star Li Na and fifth seed Angelique Kerber. Radwanska stormed to her 11th straight victory of the year as she carried the form shown in winning titles at Auckland and Sydney in the lead-up to the year’s opening Grand Slam.
The Pole beat Irina-Camelia Begu 6-3, 6-3 and now faces Britain’s Heather Watson. — AFP