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Sharapova storms past Venus in Melbourne

ESPN staff
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Maria Sharapova is in red-hot form at the Australian Open © AP
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Maria Sharapova continued her devastating form as she powered into the Australian Open fourth round with a crushing victory over Venus Williams.

Williams had been in good form coming into the match between the two former world No. 1s, but she was helpless to prevent a rout as the Russian powered to a devastating 6-1 6-3 victory.

Having won her opening two matches 6-0 6-0, Sharapova conceded just four games as she condemned Williams to her heaviest defeat at a grand slam in 12 years.

She dropped her first game of the tournament in the opening set, but not before she had raced to a 4-0 lead. Despite making just 44 per cent of her first serves in the opening set, Sharapova romped through the opening set for the loss of just five games on serve.

With Sharapova hitting the ball crisply into the corners, Williams struggled to keep pace with her opponent and was broken in her opening service game of the second set as the French Open champion put one foot in the last 16.

Williams came from 0-40 down to hold serve in the fourth game, but the double break soon came as Sharapova streaked away to victory.

Serving for the match, the 2008 champion suffered a brief wobble as a superb cross-court forehand on the run saw her save a fourth break point, but she was unable to fend off a fifth as she was broken for the first time in the tournament.

But it merely delayed the inevitable as Sharapova wrapped up the match at the second time of asking after just an hour and 19 minutes on court.

Sharapova will face Belgian Kirsten Flipkens in the last 16 after the world No. 43 reached the fourth round of a grand slam for the first time with a 6-2 4-6 6-3 victory over Valeria Savinykh.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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