Photo: Paul ZimmerMaria Sharapova (RUS)
Maria Sharapova continued her perfect run in this year’s Australian Open with a second successive 60 60 victory, this time over Japan’s Misaki Doi. In doing so, Sharapova became the first player since 1985 to produce consecutive ‘double bagels’ in a Grand Slam.
“I try to play every single point like I really need to win it,” said the Russian. “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.”
Sharapova will play Venus Williams in what promises to be a scintillating third round encounter after Williams beat France’s Alize Cornet 63 63.
There was bad news for the local fans, however, as Sam Stosur crashed out of her home Slam to Zheng Jie of China 64 16 75. Stosur had lost to Zheng in Sydney the week before but came away from that match claiming to be feeling better about her game. Stosur served for the match at 5-2 in the third but could not clinch the victory that both she and the crowd desperately wanted, and Zheng fought back to win.
“I got tight and then you start missing some balls,” said Stosur. “You probably think a little bit too much. You do it over and over and over again, and then you start not wanting to miss rather than wanting to make the winner. Instead, it's I don't want to make the error.”
In the men’s draw, Novak Djokovic was unrelenting against young American Ryan Harrison, winning 61 62 63. The world No. 1 hit 37 winners on his way through to the third round, where he will play Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic.
Stepanek’s compatriot Tomas Berdych, the No. 5 seed, defeated Frenchman Guillaume Rufin 62 62 64 to ease into the third round. The Czech is yet to drop a set in the tournament and will be looking to make a run to the latter stages of the tournament, and after winning the 2012 Davis Cup, Berdych has his eyes set on winning another big title.
“My career is still not over, I hope that I have many more years to do so [win a major] and that’s definitely the goal,” said Berdych.
Fourth seed David Ferrer won through in four sets against American Tim Smyczek, eventually taking the match 60 75 46 63. Ferrer will face 2006 Australian Open finalist Marcos Baghdatis in the third round after the Cypriot also came through his second round match in four sets, overcoming Japan’s Tatsuma Ito 36 63 62 62.
Baghdatis always has a huge following of Greek Cypriot supporters in Melbourne which he tries to use to his advantage.
“I use it positively, but the pressure is there when you have a big following in Melbourne,” he admitted. “It’s a nice thing and a nice feeling. Don’t take me wrong, it’s a nice feeling and just a small pressure that I want to make them happy.”
Elsewhere, there will be an all-Serbian clash in the third round of the women’s competition as Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic both prevailed in their second round matches. Neither won easily against their lower ranked opponents though, as both were taken to a third set.
Ivanovic started strongly but faltered at the end of the first set and throughout the second set, leaving the match in the balance going into the third set. She started strongly again, moving 4-1 up but her opponent, Yung-Jan Chang from Chinese Taipei, fought back, pushing Ivanovic all the way. It was the 13th seed who eventually triumphed, taking the match 75 16 64.
Jankovic started slowly, losing the first set to Maria Joao Koehler of Portugal. An upset looked to be on the cards when the second set went to a tiebreak, but 22nd seed Jankovic proved too strong and won it 7-5. She carried on that momentum to take the match 26 76(5) 62.
There were also wins for Agnieszka Radwanska (POL), Kei Nishikori (JPN), Li Na (CHN), Nicolas Almagro (ESP), Heather Watson (GBR), Janko Tipsarevic (SRB) and Angelique Kerber (GER).