Sharapova Survives First Round In Aussie Open
By Rudy Martinez
Jan 14, 2014 - 12:44:27 PM
MELBOURNE—Maria Sharapova made her return to the tennis season with a strong statement. Battling a shoulder injury and the sweltering Australian temperatures was no challenge for the #4 seeded Russian. In a 6-4, 6-3 straight sets win over American Bethanie Mattek-Sands, the 6 foot 2 inch blonde powerhouse coasted through the first round of the Australian Open on Tuesday night.
After finishing last season with a withdraw from the U.S. Open due to a right shoulder injury suffered at Wimbledon, the 26-year-old came into Rod Laver Arena destined to start the first grand slam off with a bang. Sharapova opened with a 4-0 start to the first set as her intensity climbed faster than the night’s blistering heat.
She left Mattek-Sands with little opportunity to make a strong finish, giving Sharapova her 40th victory at the Australian Open. Sharapova has won the Australian Open twice in her career with her recent title in 2012 before losing a defensive title shot against
China’s Li Na in the semifinals last year. Her quest for a third will come against nemesis Serena Williams later in the tournament before challenging defending champion Victoria Azarenka.
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