19 Jan 2013

Sharapova easily beats Venus Williams

7:00 pm on 19 January 2013

Maria Sharapova made light work of Venus Williams in the third round of the Australian Open, beating the former world No 1 6-1, 6-3.

The 2008 champion took 79 minutes to win the match on Friday night. She took the first set in 29 minutes.

"She played very well," said Williams, 32, afterwards. "I expect her to play well.''

Sharapova, 25, has been in ruthless form this week and went through the first two rounds without losing a game.

Her preparation for the tournament was limited by a collarbone injury. The BBC reports she is a strong favourite to make the final.

"I think the reason I started so well in this tournament is because I knew that I had to," Sharapova said. "I knew I was coming in without any match play."

She says she's happy with her form, given that backdrop, but feels there is still room for improvement.

She next faces Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium, who downed Valeria Savinykh of Russia 6-2, 4-6, 6-3.