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Sharapova crushes Venus to power into last 16 at the Australian Open

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When the draw was made the for 2013 Australian Open, the one potential third round clash that everyone wanted to see was Maria Sharapova vs Venus Williams. With 11 Grand Slam titles between them the ticket for Friday night's match was always going to be a special one to land, but sadly from the fans' perspective the match was largely a one-sided affair.

World no.2, Sharapova, came into the match without having lost a game all tournament, dishing out consecutive 6-0, 6-0 drubbings in her first two rounds, and looked to be on course for a similar outcome when she raced to an early 4-0 lead, having had to save a break point in her first service game.

 

Venus was never really in the contest in the first set, always seeming a step off the pace, moving slow to either side, and saw too many of her once deadly forehands catch the tape. Sharapova pocketed the first set for the loss of 1 game, and raced to an early 3-0 lead in the second.

With the match seemingly in her pocket, Sharapova stepped things up a gear, looking to hit more winners, having played carefully thus far, keeping the ball in play, and placing the ball rather than going all out.

Suddenly the contest became more exciting as both women started playing a better level of tennis. Maria squeezed out a 5-1 lead and served for the match, only to be broken, and Venus held serve in the following game to give the fans something to cheer.

The reprieve though proved to be short lived as Sharapova managed her nerves and closed out a tight final game to record a comprehensive 6-1, 6-3 win against the 7-time Grand Slam champion.

Maria will face Belgium's Kristen Flipkens in the round of 16, and with each passing match is looking like a very safe bet for the crown here at Melbourne Park.