Sharapova sets up Australian Open clash with Williams

First published in Sport

MARIA SHARAPOVA breezed into the third round of the Australian Open without dropping a game to set up a third-round blockbuster with Venus Williams.

Sharapova thrashed hapless Japanese Misaki Doi 6-0 6- 0 – repeating the scoreline she enjoyed against Olga Puchkova in her Melbourne opener.

The Russian became the third woman to record successive ‘double-bagels’ in a grand slam tournament and the first since Wendy Turnbull in 1985.

Turnbull then lost her next match and Sharapova will be determined not to suffer the same fate when she takes on Williams, a 6-3 6-3 winner against Alize Cornet.

The second seed has won four of their previous seven encounters and knows what she will be facing on Friday.

‘‘There are certainly no secrets in that match-up,’’ said Sharapova.

‘‘We’ve played against each other so many times. Despite the fact 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.’’

Williams was at least pushed by Cornet on Rod Laver Arena although the seven-time major winner, seeded 25th as she continues her comeback from illness, had too much know-how for the Frenchwoman.

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