Sharapova roars into third round of Australian Open
Melbourne [Australia], Jan 18 : Russian tennis star and former champion Maria Sharapova produced a rich vein of form as she swept aside 14th seed Anastasija Sevastova in straight sets to cruise into the third round of the Australian Open here at the Melbourne Park on Thursday. The 30-year-old played nearly flawless in the opening set, but things got complicated in the second set before she recovered to win the tie-break and claim a 6-1, 7-6(2) win over Sevastova in a thrilling clash that lasted an hour and 23 minutes on Rod Laver Arena. Heaping praise over her opponent, Sharapova revealed the struggle she had faced in the previous matches that she played against Sevastova. "She never really lets up. She gets a lot of balls back. That's something that I had trouble with in the previous matches that I played against her," the WTA quoted Sharapova, as saying. The Russian tennis star, however, seemed quite satisfied with her performance during the match as she said, "I was really happy with how aggressive I was. I was consistent but I was looking to come forward. I played really well at the net, finished the balls off with a swing volley or good volley. Something I've been working on, and definitely improved in the match today." The pair had entered the second round of the Australian Open after splitting their previous two matches in 2017. Sevastova had defeated Sharapova in the fourth round of last year's US Open before the latter took an avenge of her defeat in an even closer encounter in Beijing by clinching a 7-6(3), 5-7, 7-6(7) win. Sharapova will now square off with either Germany's 2016 Australian Open winner Angelique Kerber or Croatia's Donna Vekic in the third round. In another women's singles clash, Poland tennis player Agnieszka Radwanska, a semi-finalist twice in the previous four tournaments at Melbourne, bounced back from a set down against Ukraine's Lesia Tsurenko to reach the third round of the Australian Open. The26th seed, Radwanska, needed three sets to fend off her Ukrainian opponent 2-6, 7-5, 6-3 in a thrilling second-round clash. Radwanska will now lock horns with Chinese Taipei's Hsieh Su-Wei in her next clash of the Australian Open.