Friday’s match between Venus Williams and Maria Sharapova was expected to be a hard-fought battle, but ended in Williams being dismantled by Sharapova 6-1, 6-3 to advance to the fourth round of the Australian Open.
“When we both looked at the draw, it was certainly the match-up both of us were looking forward to,” Sharapova said to The Australian. “I was really excited to play her.”
Heading into Friday’s match, Williams and Sharapova together had 11 majors. Williams has seven, Sharapova has four.
Sharapova outplayed Williams from the very beginning of the game to the end. Williams found herself springing at Sharapova’s returns and ground strikes, instead of being on the attack.
Williams made one last attempt to keep her Australian Open run alive when she broke Sharapova’s victory point at 6-1, 5-1 in the second set, but Sharapova finished her off in the next service game.
“Definitely not my best day today,” Williams said after the match.
The loss adds to Williams’ inability to move past the third round. She has only been able to do so once in the past two years, at Wimbledon in 2011.
Williams may have had a poor outing, but she has no reason to be fully disappointed. She was Sharapova’s only opponent to have won a game against her. In Sharapova’s first two matches neither opponent was able to win a game, which vaulted her into the record books as the first person to score two “double bagel” 6-0, 6-0 grand slam wins in a row since 1985.
“She’s a great champion and won many more grand slams than I have,” Sharapova said of Williams. “No matter what her ranking, she is so hard to play.”
Sharapova will now face Belgian Kirsten Flipkens on Saturday with hopes of advancing to her 17th quarter-final in a major.