Sharapova braces for Venus
Melbourne - After serving up a 'double, double bagel', second seed Maria Sharapova could find herself packing her bags for her next tournament on Friday after she meets Venus Williams in the third round of the Australian Open.
Sharapova has barely been pushed in her successive 6-0, 6-0 victories over Olga Puchkova and Misaki Doi at Melbourne Park and while Williams has slipped down the rankings due to injuries and a fatigue-inducing illness, the Russian is not expecting anything other than a taut battle on Rod Laver Arena.
"There are certainly no secrets coming into that match-up. We've played against each other many times," Sharapova said of the clash against the seven-times Grand Slam champion.
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"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.
"You certainly know what she's capable of. But when you're out on the court, you're not thinking 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."
Men's champion Novak Djokovic, who has been almost as ruthlessly efficient as Sharapova in his first two matches in his quest for his third successive titles, will play Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic for a place in the fourth round.
Djokovic destroyed up and coming American Ryan Harrison in the second round on Wednesday, making the game look ridiculously easy, and in the kind of form which should extend his lifetime record against Stepanek to 8-1.
Their last meeting ended in a four-set victory in the third round at Wimbledon last year.
While the Williams-Sharapova clash is expected to highlight the day on Rod Laver, the first game on the centre court could provide a glimpse into the future with 17-year-old American Madison Keys facing fifth-seed Angelique Kerber.
Keys has been lauded by commentators for not only her game but also her maturity beyond her age. She is also considered one of the best young players on tour by her fellow professionals.
Women's No 4 Agnieszka Radwanska, who is unbeaten this year after winning the Auckland and Sydney tournaments, will seek to extend that streak to 12 matches when she plays Britain's Heather Watson on Hisense Arena.
Radwanska beat Watson 6-0, 6-2 in the Wimbledon third round last year, but the British 20-year-old feels like she has improved her own game markedly since then.
"I think the first time I played her I just went guns blazing, didn't know what to do," Watson said.
"Just went for way too much. This time I'm coming in a different player, and I'm going to approach it differently."
Results from day four of the Australian Open on Thursday:
Victoria Azarenka (BLR x1) bt Eleni Daniilidou (GRE) 6-1, 6-0
Ayumi Morita (JPN) bt Annika Beck (GER) 6-2, 6-0
Roberta Vinci (ITA x16) bt Akgul Amanmuradova (UZB) 6-3, 6-2
Maria Kirilenko (RUS x14) bt Peng Shuai (CHN) 7-5, 6-2
Elena Vesnina (RUS) bt Varvara Lepchenko (USA x21) 6-4, 6-2
Serena Williams (USA x3) bt Garbine Muguruza (ESP) 6-2, 6-0
Jamie Hampton (USA) bt Luksika Kumkhum (THA) 6-1, 6-2
Lesia Tsurenko (UKR) bt Daria Gavrilova (RUS) 7-5, 6-3
Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) bt Hsieh Su-wei (TPE x26) 6-2, 6-1
Yanina Wickmayer (BEL x20) bt Jana Cepelova (SVK) 7-6 (10/8), 7-5
Caroline Wozniacki (DEN x10) bt Donna Vekic (CRO) 6-1, 6-4
Kimiko Date-Krumm (JPN) bt Shahar Peer (ISR) 6-2, 7-5
Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP) bt Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) 1-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-2
Bojana Jovanovski (SRB) bt Lucie Safarova (CZE x17) 7-5, 7-5
Sloane Stephens (USA x29) bt Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) 6-4, 6-3
Laura Robson (GBR) bt Petra Kvitova (CZE x8) 2-6, 6-3, 11-9
Ricardas Berankis (LTU) bt Florian Mayer (GER x25) 6-2, 6-3, 6-1
Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER x17) bt Amir Weintraub (ISR) 6-2, 7-6 (7/4), 6-4
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA x7) bt Go Soeda (JPN) 6-3, 7-6 (7/1), 6-3
Andy Murray (GBR x3) bt Joao Sousa (POR) 6-2, 6-2, 6-4
Milos Raonic (CAN x13) bt Lukas Rosol (CZE) 7-6 (7/2), 6-2, 6-3
Marin Cilic (CRO x12) bt Rajeev Ram (USA) 7-5, 6-2, 6-4
Blaz Kavcic (SLO) bt James Duckworth (AUS) 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-7 (3/7), 10-8
Bernard Tomic (AUS) bt Daniel Brands (GER) 6-7 (4/7), 7-5, 7-6 (7/3), 7-6 (10/8)
Andreas Seppi (ITA x21) bt Denis Istomin (UZB) 7-6 (7/4), 5-7, 6-7 (3/7), 7-6 (7/3), 6-2
Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG x6) bt Benjamin Becker (GER) 6-2, 6-4, 6-2
Gael Monfils (FRA) bt Lu Yen-hsun (TPE) 7-6 (7/5), 4-6, 0-6, 6-1, 8-6
Gilles Simon (FRA x14) bt Jesse Levine (CAN) 2-m6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/4), 6-2
Jeremy Chardy (FRA) bt Marcel Granollers (ESP x30) 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, 6-2
Roger Federer (SUI x2) bt Nikolay Davydenko (RUS) 6-3, 6-4, 6-4
Richard Gasquet (FRA x9) bt Alejandro Falla (COL) 6-3, 6-2, 6-2
Ivan Dodig (CRO) bt Jarkko Nieminen (FIN) 6-3, 6-7 (4/7), 6-3, 6-7 (4/7), 6-1