6-1 6-3 SET AND MATCH SHARAPOVA! Sharapova regains some focus here as she takes a 30-0. But a bad challenge from the Russian and a backhand sailed long put Venus back on track (30-30). A superb second serve from Maria follows and hands her the first match point. She closes it out with an ace down the middle, superb performance from the Russian.
6-1 5-3 The quality of tennis is definitely higher right now, mainly because of Venus’ mini-comeback. She raised her game by a notch or two and looks more than a worthy opponent for Sharapova at this moment. Williams closes the gap with a hold to 30, but it will be Maria once more who will get a chance to serve for the match.
6-1 5-2 BREAK! A very unusual start of the game, Venus takes a 40-0 lead after a superb backhand return and a Sharapova UE. First two are saved with an ace and a serve winner. The third one is history too with a Williams forehand gone wide. The American, former Wimbledon champion, earns herself another two chances to break and everntually manages to take Sharapova’s serve with some superb display of tennis. This is the first time that Maria loses her serve in this year’s tournament.
6-1 5-1 BREAK! A superbly constructed rally from the Russian player secures her the first point. She moves Williams around the court, but misses an easy looking forehand (15-15). Never mind, the next two points are absolutely top notch from Sharapova, two winners and a couple more BPs on the go. But Venus sticks in there, not letting go just yet. But she is only avoiding the inevitable and after a couple of deuces, Sharapova finally gets a double break and she will serve for the match.
6-1 4-1 Probably the best rally of the match marks the opening of this 5th game and Williams takes it after Sharapova’s forehand finds the net. Venus is looking to step into the ball, take it early and put pressure on Maria. She takes a 30-15 lead, but Sharapova ups her game even more and with some penetrating ground strokes, she eventually manages to break down the American’s game.
6-1 3-1 The question to ask is – are there any players out there who could handle Sharapova in her current form tonight? An unforced error from Williams, a forehand bullet winner and a forced backhand error from the American makes it 0-40. However, Venus manages to avert all three break points and as she takes the next two points, she gives herself a small chance to hang in this match. At least for now…
6-1 3-0 It is only very hard to see how Venus could come back from this situation. The depth, pace and the placement of Sharapova’s ground strokes are absolutely flawless. Another hold to love from the Russian.
6-1 2-0 BREAK! Another second serve punished by Sharapova and as Venus’ backhand finds the net in the very following point, the score is set at 0-30. Maria is firing from all corners now, a couple more return winners and the question will be – is she playing her best tennis in her career right now?
Williams has only won one point out of 8 after her second serve so far..
6-1 1-0 Venus is probably hoping for Sharapova to start missing some shots. But unfortunately for her, the Russian player comes up with another fairly confident hold to 30. It is all going her way right now, she is dictating the points from the very start till the very end. She finishes the game with an ace down the T.
6-1 SET Sharapova! Maria is moving really good out there, reading the ball nice and early. Two superb forehand returns and a short ball tucked away in the corner give her three set points. First one saved by the American player, but Sharapova grabs hold of the second one and after just a half an hour, Maria is looking better than ever.
5-1 Sharapova hits the first ace of the match and a forehand unforced error make it 15-15 in this game. But a powerful backhand down the line is too much to handle for Venus, who then misses and easy looking return to hand the Russian two game points. A huge second serve finds the T and Sharapova is one game away from wrapping up this set.
4-1 We see the first net attack, with Williams putting away a smash. Sharapova subsequently comes up with a stunning return just before Venus unleashes a forehand cross-court winner. Some big serving helps the American wrap up the game to the cheers of the Aussie crowd.
4-0 The Williams forehand is misfiring on many occassions now. She will need to get into a bit more rhythm if she wants to threaten Maria out there. With some solid serving and rock steady ground strokes, the Russian holds to love.
3-0 BREAK! Venus is trying to outpower Maria, just for the Russian to take the ball early and counter attacking, using Williams’ power very cleverly. As we get to 30-30, Venus’s serve lets her down. A double fault grants Sharapova another break point that she takes with wide arms open. This is the 27th game win in a row for the Russian at this year’s Australian Open. Remember, she won her first two matches with a double bagel…
2-0 A Venus forehand sails long, another she pulls wide and Sharapova finds herself 30-0 up. Williams comes up with a stunning forehand return winner and as she forces Maria to net a forehand, the score is levelled at 30-30. Another brilliant second serve return from the American and she gets to a break back point, but is unable to convert after commiting an unforced error. With some solid two points that follow, Sharapova eventually wraps up the game and consolidates the break.
1-0 BREAK! Not a great start, a double fault to begin with, but Venus quickly erases the mistake with a forehand winner. A forehand cross-court rally follows and Williams is unable to cope with the Sharapova power. Maria earns herself the first two break points by pushing the American player right out of the court, forcing an error. First one saved with a cleverly placed serve out wide, but the Russian takes the second chance and is showing a very fine form from the very beginning of the match.
Venus to serve…
Perfect playing conditions out there in Melbourne, which is a huge contrast in comparison to yesterday, when it was unblelievably hot.
Live Commentary from the third round Australian Open 2013 match between two superstars will start here in few minutes.
The players have just enter Rod Laver Arena and are about to warm up…
Sharapova leads the head to head with 4-3, having won the Australian Open back in 2008.