Melbourne, Australia (Sports Network) - Second-seeded former champion Maria
Sharapova and fourth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska cruised in their third-round
matches Friday at the Australian Open.
Sharapova, the 2008 champion and two-time Aussie Open runner-up, rolled over
25th-seeded fellow former world No. 1 Venus Williams, 6-1, 6-3. Sharapova
failed to lose a game in her first two matches, while Williams had dropped
only seven games over her first two rounds. Sharapova still managed to set a
new Open Era Grand Slam record by winning 28 straight games to start the
Despite only winning 5-of-13 break points, Sharapova was aided by 26 unforced
errors by the seven-time Grand Slam champion Williams, who lost to her younger
sister Serena in the 2003 Aussie Open finale.
"I think when we both looked at the draw, it was a matchup we were both
looking forward to," Sharapova said. "She's a tremendous athlete and a great
Sharapova is now 5-3 lifetime against Venus, who had won their previous two
Grand Slam meetings.
The reigning French Open titlist and career Grand Slam winner Sharapova, who
lost to Victoria Azarenka in last year's Aussie finale, advanced to face
Belgian Kirsten Flipkens, who needed three sets to get past Russian Valeria
Savinykh, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3.
Meanwhile, the 2012 Wimbledon runner-up Radwanska whipped Great Britain's
Heather Watson 6-3, 6-1 en route to her 12th straight victory following
back-to-back season-opening titles in Auckland and Sydney.
"I'm extremely happy to be playing my best tennis from the beginning of the
year," Radwanska said.
The 23-year-old from Poland will face 13th-seeded Ana Ivanovic in the fourth
The former French Open champion Ivanovic, the 2008 Aussie Open runner-up to
Sharapova, got past fellow Serb and fellow former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic,
handling the 22nd seed 7-5, 6-3 on Day 5 of this fortnight.
Fifth-seeded Angelique Kerber, who turned 25 on Friday, was also a straight-
set winner, defeating American teenager Madison Keys 6-2, 7-5 at Rod Laver
Arena, while sixth-seeded Li Na earned a 6-4, 6-1 victory over 27th-seeded
Sorana Cirstea of Romania. Li was the French Open champion and Aussie Open
runner-up two years ago.
Up next for Kerber will be Russian Ekaterina Makarova, while Li will face
German Julia Goerges.
Also on Friday, 11th-seeded French slugger Marion Bartoli was ousted by
the 19th-seeded Makarova 6-7 (4-7), 6-3, 6-4 in a match that lasted
nearly three hours, while the 18th-seeded Goerges overcame 56 unforced
errors to outlast China's Zheng Jie 6-3, 1-6, 7-5.
The third round will conclude on Saturday, highlighted by matches for
the reigning world No. 1 and reigning Melbourne titlist Azarenka and
the third-seeded former No. 1 and five-time Aussie champ Serena. Azarenka will
take on American Jamie Hampton, while the American great Serena will be
opposed by Japan's Ayumi Morita.
Azarenka beat Sharapova in last year's Aussie final and lost to Serena in the
U.S. Open title tilt. The 15-time Grand Slam champion Serena is the reigning
Wimbledon and U.S. Open champ who is seeking a third straight major title.
In some other third-round action on Saturday, 10th-seeded former world No. 1
and former U.S. Open runner-up Caroline Wozniacki will face Ukrainian Lesia
Tsurenko, 29th-seeded rising American Sloane Stephens will battle promising
British left-hander Laura Robson, and two-time major champion Svetlana
Kuznetsova will tangle with Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro.
The Sports Network