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Maria Sharapova Defeats Misaki Doi at 2013 Australian Open

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 14:  Maria Sharapova of Russia talks to MC Craig Willis after winning her first round match against Olga Puchkova of Russia during day one of the 2013 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 14, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)
Michael Dodge/Getty Images
Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistJanuary 16, 2013

As expected, Maria Sharapova defeated Misaki Doi in second-round play at the 2013 Australian Open and advances one round closer to her goal of winning a second title at the event.

The Russian star dominated from the opening serve, never dropping a game and taking the match in straight sets, 6-0, 6-0. Next up, No. 25-seeded Venus Williams in the third round.

There was some concern that Sharapova would come into this tournament a bit rusty after missing the Brisbane International with an injury to her right collarbone—a traditional warm-up event before the Australian Open—but thus far that rust hasn't been too apparent.

After all, this is Sharapova we are talking about, a player who won last year's French Open and was briefly the WTA's top-ranked player. If she doesn't at least advance to the quarterfinals, it would be very surprising.

Any questions we might have had about rust should have been answered after the first and second rounds, where Sharapova absolutely destroyed her opponents. She has won 24 straight games to open the tournament and neither one of her two matches has lasted longer than 55 minutes.

Like Olga PuchkovaDoi was always an extreme long shot to defeat Sharapova. You never completely count out possible upsets in Grand Slams—remember, a year ago Lukas Rosol defeated Rafael Nadal in the second round of Wimbledon—but the odds of the second-seeded Sharapova losing this match were slim to none.

Sharapova was a match away from winning the Australian last year, losing to Victoria Azarenka in the final. It ended a poor streak of play at the tournament since she won the title in 2008, as she didn't participate in 2009, lost in the first round in 2010 and bowed out in the fourth round in 2011.

Those days seem far behind Sharapova, however, who regained the magic last year she had early in her career before being beset by injuries. One of the WTA's most marketable public figures is once again also one of its top players.

And she sure as heck isn't rusty.

 

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