MELBOURNE, Australia - Maria Sharapova showed she's fully recovered from the right collarbone injury that forced her to withdraw from her only Australian Open lead-up tournament two weeks ago in Brisbane, crushing Olga Puchkova in her first match at the first Grand Slam tournament of the year.
The No.2-seeded Sharapova blasted 18 winners and blanked her fellow Russian in 55 minutes, 60 60.
"After a couple of close games and a few break points early on I certainly started to concentrate a bit better," Sharapova said. "I didn't want to focus on the fact I hadn't played a lot of matches, I just wanted to focus on what was ahead of me and really concentrate on being aggressive. I had never played her before, but it was one of those matches where I just wanted to think about what I had to do."
Sharapova has now won by a double bagel three times at Grand Slams, over Beatrice Capra in the third round of the 2010 US Open and over Alexandra Cadantu in the first round of last year's French Open.
"You focus on every point and every game and try to win as many as you can; today was just a good scoreline," Sharapova said. "But even if you win 7-6 in the third, you've still won the match."
Sharapova was asked about her lack of preparation going into the year's first Grand Slam.
"I would have loved to come in with a few matches, but sometimes circumstances don't allow that, and that's okay," Sharapova said. "To me, I'd rather be going onto the court knowing I'm healthy. Yes, I might be a little bit rusty, but I'll work my way through it. I'm experienced enough to know the adjustments I have to make in those types of circumstances. I went to Brisbane. I certainly would have loved to step on the court and play those matches, but it just didn't work out this time."
Sharapova could face No.25 seed Venus Williams in a blockbuster third round match-up - she was asked about the potential clash with her fellow former No.1. "First of all we still have to get to that point, and then we can discuss it further," she said. "There's no doubt she's a champion, and an experienced one at that - and no matter where she's ranked or what level she's at, she's a tough opponent."