Sharapova, Li fire up Australia campaigns

Maria Sharapova and Li Na crushed hapless opponents to storm into the Australian Open second round, making their intentions clear as they bid for further Grand Slam glory.

Fellow major winner Venus Williams also romped on a warm Melbourne Park day, but fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska was put through her paces by local qualifier Bojana Bobusic before finding her groove.

World number one and defending champion Victoria Azarenka, and tournament favourite Serena Williams, looking for a sixth Australian crown, play on Tuesday.

Reigning French Open champion Sharapova, who was hammered by Azarenka in last year's Melbourne final, was at her dominant best against fellow Russian Olga Puchkova on Rod Laver Arena, humiliating her in a rare double bagel.

Sharapova, the champion in 2008, powered through 6-0, 6-0 in just 55 minutes and will next play Misaki Doi of Japan.

China's world number six Li, the runner-up two years ago, overpowered Kazak Sesil Karatantcheva 6-1, 6-3 while seven-time Grand Slam winner Venus, watched by sister Serena, eased past another Kazak Galina Voskoboeva 6-1, 6-0.

Radwanska, who won lead-up events in Auckland and Sydney, was pushed hard by Bobusic in the first set before winning 7-5, 6-0. Fifth seed Angelique Kerber and ninth seed Samantha Stosur also secured their passage.

Second seed Sharapova came into the season's opening Grand Slam without any competitive matches under her belt after a collarbone injury ruled her out of the Brisbane International, but showed no evidence of the problem on court.

"I didn't want to focus on the fact I hadn't played a lot of matches, just wanted to focus on what was ahead of me and really concentrate and be aggressive," said the Russian, who has won four Grand Slams.

"I also never faced her before. So it was just one of those matches where I didn't try to worry about her too much. I just tried to think about what I had to do."

Wearing a summery yellow dress and matching shoelaces, the 25-year-old won her opening serve then broke her 107th ranked opponent to take a 2-0 lead.

Grunting at full volume, she used her powerful forehand to devastating effect. Puchkova had little answer to the Sharapova weaponry and pushed a backhand long to cap a humiliating defeat.

Playing in her 10th campaign at Melbourne Park, Sharapova is looking to avenge the humbling she was dealt by Azarenka in the final last year, when she was thrashed 6-3, 6-0 in just 82 minutes.

Li, who complained of tiredness in the lead-up to Melbourne, was also in fine form to set up a second round clash with Olga Govortsova of Belarus.

The 2011 French Open winner seized control by breaking for 3-1 and then 5-1 to take the opening set with ease. Karatantcheva made her work harder for the second set but her resistance ultimately proved futile.

"It's always tough in the first round. You just come to the court 50/50. You never know whether you can beat her or you can lose. Everyone is the same," said Li.

Venus Williams has dropped down the rankings and is only seeded 25 here as she works her way back after illness.

She has not won a Grand Slam singles title since her 2008 success at Wimbledon, but looked in ominous touch against Voskoboeva.

"I don't think my opponent quite got the hang of it. It's hard to play the first match in a major, first thing of the year, and that can be a lot of pressure," she said. "I did my best to just close it out."

It set her up for a second round clash with France's Alize Cornet, who beat New Zealand's Marina Erakovic in a 3hr 20mins epic, and a potential third round showdown with Sharapova.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Philippines to fly over disputed South China Sea: Aquino
    Philippines to fly over disputed South China Sea: Aquino

    Philippine military and commercial aircraft will keep flying over disputed areas in the South China Sea despite Chinese warnings over the airspace, President Benigno Aquino said on Monday. "We will still fly the routes that we fly based on the international law from the various conventions we entered into," Aquino told reporters when asked whether the Philippines accepted China's position. The Chinese military last week ordered a US Navy P-8 Poseidon surveillance plane away from airspace …

  • ‘Kentex owners still in Phl’
    ‘Kentex owners still in Phl’

    The daughter of one of the Kentex Manufacturing Corp. owners has assured the government that the businessmen are still in the Philippines, contrary to some reports that they have fled the country. Barbara Ang, daughter of Kentex shareholder Veato Ang, said her father and his business partners have no plans of leaving the country despite the razing of the Valenzuela slipper factory, which killed 72 workers on May 13. Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian also stood by his promise to punish any local …

  • Gasoline prices up, diesel down
    Gasoline prices up, diesel down

    Oil companies announced yesterday a price hike of 50 centavos per liter for gasoline and a rollback of 50 centavos per liter for diesel effective at 6 a.m. today. Independent oil firms were among the first to announce the price adjustment. In an advisory, PTT Philippines, the local subsidiary of Thailand’s biggest oil firm said it cut diesel prices by 50 centavos per liter and increased gasoline prices by 50 centavos per liter. …

  • Lawmakers to review building code provisions
    Lawmakers to review building code provisions

    Lawmakers are set to review provisions of the National Building Code and Republic Act 10121, or the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act, to strengthen contingencies and policies to prepare the country for possible major earthquakes. The move came following proposals from Reps. Winston Castelo of Quezon City and Lito Atienza of the Buhay party-list to review the two laws and other regulations during a hearing of the House committee on Metro Manila development on the …

  • Noy: Phl may attain first world status with continued reforms
    Noy: Phl may attain first world status with continued reforms

    The Philippines’ attaining first world status may soon be imminent if significant reforms initiated by the current administration would be consistently pursued, President Aquino suggested yesterday. “Kung madidiligan ang ating mga pinunla, at makaka-graduate ang mga pinag-aaral natin upang makapasok sa maaayos na trabaho, baka po tuluyan nang nasa first world status tayo sa panahong iyon (If we water the seeds sown and those we sent to school will find better jobs, then time will come that …

  • Phl won’t recognize China air restrictions
    Phl won’t recognize China air restrictions

    The Philippines will not recognize restrictions on air and sea travel set by China in the West Philippine Sea, President Aquino said yesterday. “We will still fly the routes that we fly based on international law and the various conventions, agreements that have been entered into through various decades,” Aquino told reporters in an ambush interview after inspecting the Marikina Elementary School in preparation for the opening of classes in June. “Maybe we should not think about getting …

  • Rainy season likely in 2nd week of June
    Rainy season likely in 2nd week of June

    Filipinos may have to wait until the second or third week of June for rain, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said yesterday. Rene Paciente, chief of PAGASA’s marine meteorological services section, said they expect the rainy season to start in the second or third week of June. The criteria for declaring the onset of the rainy season include the prevalence of the southwest monsoon and the 25-millimeter rainfall recorded in at least five …

  • UN urged to probe torture cases under Noy’s term
    UN urged to probe torture cases under Noy’s term

    The United Nations has been asked to look into   110 cases of torture and numerous cases of illegal arrests during the Aquino administration. Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary-general, yesterday said the matter could be looked into when the United Nations Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) visits from May 25 to June 3 to monitor the  implementation of the Optional protocol to the Convention Against Torture (OpCAT), which the Philippines ratified in 2012. “We enjoin the UN SPT to …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options