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Australian Open 2008

Maria Sharapova
Sharapova needed just over an hour to dispatch Davenport
Maria Sharapova made short work of Lindsay Davenport, winning the battle of the former world number ones 6-1 6-3 in the Australian Open second round.

Playing in her first Grand Slam since returning to the tour following the birth of her son Jagger in June 2007, Davenport lost the first five games.

The second set went with serve until Sharapova broke the American in game seven before serving out.

"I approached it like a final," admitted Sharapova.

"From the day I found out I might play her I started working towards her game. I wanted my coach to hit the ball as hard as he can for five days because she's one of the biggest hitters out there."


The world number five will face fellow Russian Elena Vesnina in round three.

That encounter is unlikely to hold any fear for Sharapova, who simply crushed an opponent who was expected to pose a tough test.

Davenport has been dubbed 'Supermum' down under after winning three titles since her return to the tour in September.

Crucially, though, Davenport had only met one top-10 player in that run and her encounter with Sharapova provided a harsh reality check.

However, the 31-year-old said the experience had not made her think twice about her future.

I know I can play better than I did

Lindsay Davenport

"I know I can play better than I did here this week," she said. "I've got to figure out a way to play better again at the bigger tournaments.

"I'm disappointed. I put a lot of effort into playing well in this tournament. But, I mean, I still feel like I'm the luckiest girl in the world.

"I get to continue with this journey of trying to keep playing tennis and have my husband and my son in my life. It's a pretty great position to be in."

Sharapova, 11 years younger than her opponent, looked sharper from the off, exposing Davenport's lack of movement time and again.

An embarrassment looked on the cards when the fifth seed claimed the first set in 26 minutes.

However, the second set was far more competitive, with Davenport looking more like the player of old with some crunching forehands.

But Sharapova found another level of intensity at 3-3, forcing Davenport to go long with a forehand as she broke for the third time in the match.

Davenport, an Australian Open champion in 2000, fought hard to the last but found her opponent in devastating form, the Russian winning in a little over an hour.

Tennis on the BBC
07 Jan 08 |  Tennis


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