Once In A Lifetime For Sharapova
Published January 16, 2013 12:00
MELBOURNE, Australia - With her serve hitting its mark and her groundstrokes sharp as ever, Maria Sharapova continued her sizzling start to the year Wednesday, following up her double bagel first round win with a double bagel second round win, crushing Misaki Doi by that dubious 60 60 scoreline.
The No.2-seeded Sharapova wasn't just consistently on the attack - she hit 16 winners to nine unforced errors - she defended extremely well, allowing just one winner past her, a forehand winner from the shell-shocked Doi. After 47 minutes it was all over and Sharapova was through to the third round.
"I was just trying to be focused today - I didn't know too much about my opponent, I just knew she was a few inches shorter than me," Sharapova said. "It's always tough, especially when you're up a set and a couple of breaks, to keep that momentum. I really forced myself to concentrate and get the job done."
Sharapova was asked whether there was any sympathy or temptation to ease up. "No," she said. "My focus is always on the next point and to try and win as many of them as possible. When you have your chances, the little doors that open up, you try to take them. I don't want anyone to know what the score is by looking at my face or my attitude - I try to play every single point like I need to win it."
The rarity of back-to-back double bagels at a Grand Slam extends to before Sharapova was even born - the last time this feat was achieved was by Australia's own Wendy Turnbull, right here in 1985.
"It's not really the statistic I want to be known for," Sharapova commented. "I want to be known for winning Grand Slam titles, not that I won two matches 60 60. I'm just happy that I won the match."
The going will get far tougher in the third round, as next up for Sharapova is a No.25-seeded Venus Williams, who was down an early break in each set but still got by Alizé Cornet in straight sets, 63 63.
Sharapova was asked about the blockbuster match-up with her fellow former No.1. "There are certainly no secrets coming into that match-up," she said. "We've played against each other many times, and despite the fact 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. There won't be too many secrets. I hope it will be a great match.
"I expect to go out there, two athletes competing in front of thousands of people, and trying to win."
Williams was asked whether the double double bagels are on her radar. "I don't think about things that way - I play the ball," she said. "There are going to be days when you play great and win, and there are going to be days when you play not as great and you win. Whatever day that is, you have to win."