Now it counts: Sharapova, Venus into 3rd round
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) Maria Sharapova was careful not to show any disrespect to the two women she beat 6-0, 6-0 along the way to a third-round match against Venus Williams at the Australian Open.
As rare as it was, she said, an almost flawless start wasn't entirely what she'd come to Melbourne to achieve.
The No. 2-ranked Sharapova overwhelmed Japan's Misaki Doi in 47 minutes Wednesday, even less time than she'd needed to beat fellow Russian Olga Puchkova two days earlier in her first competitive match of 2013.
No woman had posted back-to-back 6-0, 6-0 wins at a Grand Slam since 1985.
Yet it didn't excite the 25-year-old Sharapova, who wasn't even alive when Wendy Turnbull did it at the Australian Open.
"It's not really the statistic I want to be known for," Sharapova said in her most matter-of-fact way. "I want to be known for winning Grand Slam titles, not that I won two matches 6-0, 6-0."
Tennis is all about Grand Slam titles for Sharapova who, with her drought-breaking victory at the French Open last year, now has a complete set of four major championships. And she knows it won't be easy against the 32-year-old Williams, who has won seven.
"Well, you certainly know what she's capable of," Sharapova said. "But when you're out on the court, you're not thinking how many titles she's won or how experienced she is."
To Sharapova, her first two wins have been a matter of "getting the job done." She was recovering from a sore right collarbone that ruled her out of a tuneup event in Brisbane earlier this month. She skipped the Brisbane tournament last year, also due to injury, and went on to reach the Australian Open final.
"Knowing what's ahead of me ... there are certainly no secrets coming into that matchup," she said. "You know, 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."
Sharapova leads the head-to-head series 4-3, but Williams has won both of their Grand Slam meetings.
Numbers don't mean much either to Williams, who is making trip No. "Lucky 13" to Melbourne Park.
She's still on the comeback trail from missing seven months after the 2011 U.S. Open to deal with Sjogren's Syndrome. Now seeded 25th, she dropped only one game in her first-round win and then went down a break early to Alize Cornet of France before winning 6-3, 6-3.
Williams hasn't been in a Grand Slam final since 2009 and often jokes about her age, laughing as she told the crowd: "I'm fighting the wrinkles. I'm fighting the battle of the bulge!"
One thing 17 years in Grand Slam tournaments have taught her is the value of knowing who stands in your way.
"Yeah, I look at the draw. I'm not superstitious," she said. "I'm playing against Maria, I know. I'm going to have to be at my best against her.
"I know I'm not the highest seed, so I realize I'm probably going to have to play someone (highly ranked) and someone is going to have to play me - that's pretty much what it is."
Somebody who won't be getting in her way is No. 9 Samantha Stosur, the big upset Wednesday. The 2011 U.S. Open champion led 5-2 in the third set and twice served for the match, before losing 6-4, 1-6, 7-5 to China's Zheng Jie.
The kicker was a double-fault on match point by the Australian playing in front of the home fans.
"It was a bit of a choke," Stosur conceded. "Obviously it's a hard one to take when you get yourself into a winning position and you lose five games straight."
No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanksa had no such trouble, extending the year's best winning streak to 11 matches with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Romania's Irina-Camelia Begu. Nor did 2011 French Open champion Li Na, No. 5 Angelique Kerber or 17-year-old American wild card Madison Keys, who all advanced in straight sets.
Serena Williams is due to play her second-round match against Garbine Muguruza of Spain in the second match at Rod Laver Arena on Thursday. She twisted her right ankle in her opening 6-0, 6-0 win over Edina Gallotis-Hall, an injury that seems the biggest issue likely to hinder her bid for a third consecutive major title.
She cancelled an outdoor practice session Wednesday, switching to the secluded indoor courts.
"She's obviously a fighter and she doesn't complain," older sister Venus said. "She's not looking for any sympathy. She just wants to hopefully play ... and that's it."
Defending champion Victoria Azarenka has the first match on the center court, against Eleni Daniilidou of Greece, and Roger Federer has a night match against Russian veteran Nikolay Davydenko.
No. 1-ranked Novak Djokovic is already into the third round, extending his winning streak at Melbourne Park to 16 with a 6-1, 6-2, 6-3 win over 20-year-old American Ryan Harrison.
He's on track for a record third consecutive Australian Open title and doesn't have any other major winners on his half of the draw after Rafael Nadal withdrew and Federer, Andy Murray and Juan Martin del Potro landed on the opposite side.
Djokovic will next play No. 31 Radek Stepanek, who beat Feliciano Lopez 6-2, 6-2, 6-4.
Fourth-ranked David Ferrer beat American Tim Smyczek 6-0, 7-5, 4-6, 6-3. No. 5 Tomas Berdych defeated Guillaume Rufin of France 6-2, 6-2, 6-4, and No. 8 Janko Tipsarevic took almost four hours to oust Lukas Lacko 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 7-5.
Among the other men advancing were No. 10 Nicolas Almagro, No. 16-ranked Kei Nishikori, No. 22 Fernando Verdasco and No. 20 Sam Querrey, who moved on when fellow American Brian Baker retired in the second set.
Baker, who returned to the tour last year after missing almost six seasons with various injuries, was pushed from Court 6 in a wheelchair with torn ligaments in his right knee.
"He's the last person that deserves anything like that with his five or six surgeries already," Querrey said.
Updated January 16, 2013
In the latest edition of the "It Is What It Is" podcast, Chris Price and CSNNE's Mike Giardi take a look at the Patriots offseason on both sides of the ball, try and get a handle on which new guys will make an impact first, and whether or not the Patriots have altered their style when it comes to drafting and developing wide receivers.
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One of the hardest working men in the biz, Mike Petraglia aka "Trags", sits down with Butch Stearns live in Foxborough to help break down all the latest Pats moves. He discusses his reaction to the trade in Round 1 and the guys those picks produced. Also, the boys talk about the decent trade the Pats made in acquiring LeGarrette Blount from Tampa Bay for Jeff Demps and a 7th rounder.
We check in with Danny Ainge for our first talk to him since the Celtics season ended last weekend. We talk about the future of the team, KG, Pierce, Doc Rivers and more, as Danny directly answers the rumors being floated by ESPN's Stephen A. Smith.
Jackie Mac joins the show to discuss the trade rumors swirling around Paul Pierce, KG, Doc Rivers and the Celtics. She also discusses the future of the Celtics head coach.
Stephen A. joined the program to discuss the trade rumors he has reported regarding a possible trade including Doc Rivers and the Clippers. Stephen A. also told the guys that he has heard that Danny and Doc may be tiring of working together.
Dave O'Brien talked to John Farrell before the end of the Twins series. The Sox skipper said that Big Papi's success is no surprise given his work ethic.
John Farrell postgame press conference
Joe Castiglione and Dave O'Brien talked to David Ortiz after the Red Sox beat the Twins 12-5. Big Papi said that team chemistry is great, that the new guys see the Sox way of doing things.
Dale and DJ roll on with their puck talk and chat some more about the goalie matchup in this series, as well as the lack of a quality power play for both of these teams. In fact, DJ says the Rangers are even worse on the PP than the B’s! The guys also get into the resurgence of Milan Lucic and his deceptive speed and grit. Dale and DJ talk about the similar styles of play for these teams and look forward to Game 2.
Dale and DJ get into the two coaches and their polar opposite styles and demeanor. Both teams play a similar style, but the coaches certainly convey their messages in a different way. Dale isn't buying the Tortorella hype and thinks he's a little overrated. DJ thinks he's a good coach, but isn't a fan of anti-media stance. The guys also talk about Jagr and how he has not lived up to the hype. They weren't expecting him to light it up or be the savior, but DJ says he wasn't prepared for just how slow the aging veteran is. Another big topic for B's fans this season is the play of Tyler Seguin and why he has yet to become the superstar everyone anticipates he will be. This leads to Claude Julien's style and if he does actually have something against the younger players. That Iginla trade shows its ugly head again as well.
WEEI.com's DJ Bean joins Dale in studio for Sports Sunday to discuss the Bruins playoff run. Game 2 is later today and the guys discuss the results of the first game of the series. They get into the construction of the lines for the B's and if they would make any changes. DJ has a few ideas for the lines today. The boys also discuss the two goalies - Tuukka vs Henrik Lundqvist and wonder why people automatically think the Rangers have the edge at goalie. Finally, they get into the legacy and the decisions of Claude Julien and Peter Chiarelli.
Shawn joined the program to discuss another overtime win for the Bruins. When asked about Game 7 against Toronto, Thornton said that he would like to keep his specific comments in the dressing room private, but acknowledged that he encouraged Tyler Seguin to up his play and it paid off in overtime.
Barry joined the guys to help breakdown the Bruins overtime win last night in game one. Barry said that he has rarely seen a team dominate as much as the Bruins yet be forced to an overtime.
Boomer joined the program to discuss the tough loss for his beloved Rangers. Boomer told the guys that Lundqvist will be better in game two and predicted a seven game series.
Bruins rookie defenseman Matt Bartkowski has emerged as one of the young stars of the team and he joins Mut and Tom Caron to discuss his role on the team, why he's confident, and the trade that almost sent him to Calgary.
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Andy Brickley joins the show to discuss the Bruins Game 1 win over the Rangers, the play of the three young Bruins defensemen, and the fatigue Jagr has shown on the ice.
We talk all things game one with Jack Edwards of NESN, and get to hear a little from Jack's Finnish protege as well.
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Daily Planet Wednesday May 8th
Today on the Daily Planet the Bruins take a 2-1 series lead, the Red Sox get a run-off win, and we hear about cannibals and bible thieves.
Sounds like a prostate exam to me!
Damn New Yorkers!
Sauce Man stylings!
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In the latest edition of the "It Is What It Is" podcast, Chris Price and CSNNE's Mike Giardi take a look at the Patriots offseason on both sides of the ball, try and get a handle on which new guys will make an impact first, and whether or not the Patriots have altered their style when it comes to drafting and developing wide receivers.More from this show