Melbourne, Jan 23:
World No.2 Maria Sharapova was all business in her third-round singles match at the Australian Open tennis tournament, cruising past Kazakhstan’s Zarina Diyas in just 61 minutes at the Rod Laver Arena here Friday.
The second seeded Russian cruised past Diyas, 6-1, 6-1, finishing the match with her 22nd winner of the match – a powerful ace up the middle.
Sharapova said she adopted an attacking game, denying her opponent any time to settle down in the match.
“I focused on myself more than anything else. Just tried to be a bit more aggressive and concentrate – I thought I did a good job of focusing well,” she said after the match Friday.
“She can be a tough, tough player to play against if you give her the time to change down the line like she likes to do, step down and hit flat and low. If you give her the time, she’ll do it,” Sharapova said of Diyas.
Awaiting Sharapova in the fourth round is No.21 seed Peng Shuai, who beat another Kazakhstani, Yaroslava Shvedova 7-6(7), 6-3 Friday.
Sharapova also said she was aware of her next opponents’ strengths and was a handy player.
“We’ve always had good matches. She’s had great success in the last few Slams. She’s a bit of an untraditional player with two hands on both sides – that’s a little tricky – but I enjoy playing against her,” Sharapova said.
“She hits the ball quite flat as well, and deep. So I just have to be ready for those shots to always come back. And I’m looking forward to another good match-up.”
Sharapova leads Peng in their head-to-head contest count 4-1 with Peng’s lone win coming at Beijing back in 2009. (IANS)