• Australian Open, Day One

Sharapova sizzles in the Melbourne sun

ESPN staff
January 14, 2013 « Dodson chasing pigs & squirrels to prepare for Johnson | Chartbeat test »

Maria Sharapova sent out a warning to Serena Williams and co with a 6-0 6-0 mauling of Olga Puchkova in the first round of the Australian Open.

Last year's beaten finalist is in the shadow of Williams and world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka, but she is still a huge threat and proved as much with a 55-minute romp.

Sharapova came into Melbourne Park with concerns about a neck injury, but she did not look restricted in any way as she served with authority and hit with venom from the baseline.

The Russian hit 18 winners in total and was only tested in one service game - at the start of the second set - but she hit her way out of trouble and that effectively ended the resistance of Puchkova.

Venus Williams, a potential third-round oppoent for Sharapova, is battling illness but she showed no signs of weakness in a blistering 6-1 6-0 victory over Galina Voskoboeva. Williams hit with all her fearsome power of old, blowing her opponent off court in 60 minutes.

Sam Stosur has often found life difficult at her home grand slam, but she passed the opening test with a battling 7-6(3) 6-3 win over Chang Kai-chen. She was not at her best, but dug in on Rod Laver Arena to book her place in the second round.

The No. 4 seed Agnieszka Radwanska was given a workout in the first set before easing her way to a 7-5 6-0 win over Bojana Bobusic, while No. 6 seed Li Na was a 6-1 6-3 winner over Sesil Karatantcheva.

The fifth seed Angelique Kerber eased her way into the tournament with a 6-2 6-4 win Elina Svitolina.

The 11th seed Marion Bartoli was pushed hard but she steeled herself to claim a 6-2 6-4 win over Anabel Medina Garrigues.

Ana Ivanovic did not let the late start worry her as she proved too good for Melinda Czink, winning 6-2 6-1. She will face Chan Yung-jan in round two following her win over Daniela Hantuchova.

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