Double double-bagel for Maria Sharapova

11:47, Jan 16 2013
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It was not Maria Sharapova's day, winning just four games in a straight sets loss to Li Na.
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Victoria Azarenka of Belarus plays a backhand in her Semifinal match against Sloane Stephens of the United States.
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Sloane Stephens of the United States of America plays a backhand in her Semifinal match against Victoria Azarenka of Belarus.
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Andy Murray missed a chance to serve out the match in the fourth set, but finished off Roger Federer in the fifth.
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A rampaging Maria Sharapova became the first player in 28 years to dole out consecutive double-bagels at a grand slam on Wednesday, but said her tally of major titles was the only statistic worth worrying about.

The second seed left opponent Misaki Doi of Japan struggling to hold back tears after a 6-0 6-0 humiliation completed in 47 minutes at Hisense Arena, two days after inflicting the same scoreline on fellow Russian Olga Puchkova in the first round.

"I didn't offer candy today," Sharapova, who launched a sweet making business last year, told reporters.

"It's not really the statistic I want to be known for. I want to be known for winning grand slam titles, not that I won two matches 6-0 6-0."

Sharapova, bidding for a fifth major trophy and a second Down Under, has spent only 102 minutes on court at Melbourne Park so far but will face a much stiffer test against seven-times grand slam champion Venus Williams in the next round.

The ruthless Russian played down her lack of competition to sharpen her game and said she had never been tempted to take her foot off the gas against the 92nd-ranked Doi, who managed to cobble only 15 points from the match.

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"My focus is always on the next point and to try to win as many of them as possible," said Sharapova, who suffered neck and collarbone pain in the leadup but was in full flight as she unleashed 16 raking winners.

"When you have your chances and opportunities, little doors that open up, you try to take them.

"I don't want anyone to know what score it is on the scoreboard just by looking at my face or my attitude. I try to play every single point like I really need to win it."

The diminutive Doi resembled a rabbit caught in the headlights, despite the wishes of one sympathetic fan who repeatedly urged fans to clap their support.

By the closing stage of the second set, fans were roaring ironic approval at every point stolen from the Russian.

With drooping shoulders, Doi was ushered into a room of Japanese reporters where she slumped into a chair with her head in her hands before talking about her ordeal.

She said she thought Sharapova could win the tournament in her current form, and hoped that she would.

"I didn't know how I could get a point or a game. It was very tough," said Doi, her voice barely raising above a whisper.

Sharapova's victory ensured she would have good news to report on her new Twitter account, having finally joined the social media network two days before.

The glamorous Russian has already drawn more than 60,000 followers after posting her first tweet: "Your ultimate sugarmama has arrived."

"There are a lot of things I'm still learning about," she said. "I'm just starting to follow things and people. Now I'm learning how to, is it hashtag things, right? That was a new one for me.

"But it's interesting. I mean, I won't be doing it like every single minute. I won't be telling people what I'm eating. I think that's very non-interesting.

"But when I do have things to say, I'm sure I will. Last night I was watching this match I really wanted to say something about the commentating going on, but I really bit my tongue on that one."

Rather than mastering the mysteries of Twitter, however, her immediate focus is a match-up with 32-year-old Williams for only the eighth time in her career.

"Despite the fact that 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," Sharapova said.

"Going out there, there won't be too many secrets."

Venus Williams set up a glamour Australian Open third round showdown with Sharapova by outclassing Frenchwoman Alize Cornet at Melbourne Park.

The statuesque American beat Cornet 6-3 6-3 to book a date on Friday with the Russian second seed.

The pair have 11 grand slam singles trophies between them, Williams seven and Sharapova four, including the 2008 Australian Open title.

Williams, the 25th seed, wasn't quite as convincing against Cornet.

She lost the first two games of the match and went down a break of serve early in the second set.

But both times she responded well and showed she still packs an enormous punch at her best, winning six of the last seven games of the first set and the last four of the match.

Asked about her prospects against Sharapova, Williams said: "I better bring my best game against her."

Sharapova holds a 4-3 head-to-head career advantage but the American has won their only two grand slam meetings in straight sets, at Wimbledon in 2005 and 2007, going on to win the championship both times.

Sharapova said the illustrious records of herself and Williams wouldn't mean much when they took to the court.

"I hope for it to be a great match. You certainly know what she's capable of," Sharapova said.

"But when you're out on the court, you're not thinking about how many titles she's won or how experienced she is.

"You're thinking about what you need to do to step it up in a certain situation and win as many points as you can."

Williams also said she wouldn't change her mindset because of her opponent.

"I don't think I'm really going into it with a different mentality except really focusing on what I'm doing with the ball. That's pretty much it," she said.

Reuters