Sharapova opens with easy win
BY JOHN PYE Associated Press
Monday, January 14, 2013
1/14/13 at 6:03 AM
MELBOURNE, Australia - Maria Sharapova finished her first match of the year in 55 minutes Monday, cruising to a 6-0, 6-0 win over Olga Puchkova to start proceedings on center court at the Australian Open without showing any signs of trouble with her sore right shoulder.
The No. 2-ranked Sharapova, who lost the final to Victoria Azarenka here last year before going on to win the French Open, faced only two break points in the match and she saved both of those in the first game.
Then she went on a 12-game roll that earned her a second 6-0, 6-0 victory inside a year. She also started the French Open with a 6-0, 6-0 win.
Sharapova withdrew from the Brisbane International earlier this month with an injured right collarbone, saying she wanted to concentrate on being fit for the season's first major. She skipped the tournament last year, as well, before going on to reach the Australian Open final.
"After a couple of close games and a few break points, I certainly started to concentrate a bit better," she said. "I didn't want to concentrate on the fact I hadn't played a lot of matches. I just wanted to focus on what was ahead of me and really be aggressive."
Sharapova has a potential third-round match against Venus Williams, who needed just an hour for her opening 6-1, 6-0 win over Galina Voskoboeva of Kazakhstan.
No. 3-ranked Serena Williams is in the top half of the draw with defending champion Victoria Azarenka, and the pair won't start until Tuesday.
Novak Djokovic starts his bid to be the first man in the Open era to win three consecutive Australian titles later Monday with a first-round match against Paul-Henri Mathieu of France.