Brisbane International champion Maria Sharapova maintained her undefeated streak in 2015 with a quick start to the Australian Open on Monday evening. Following her first round win, Sharapova will now meet fellow Russian Alexandra Panova to determine who will arrive in the third round of the tournament. This is the first time that the two Russians will cross paths on the professional tour.
Against Croatia’s Petra Martic, Sharapova dropped only five games to ease her way into the second round. She struck 5 aces, won 73% of her first service points and hit 26 winners to close out the match 6-4, 6-1 in I hour and 26 minutes. Given her recent victories, Sharapova cannot deny that this is a fantastic start to her year.
“I’m in a much more comfortable situation than I was last year,” Sharapova admitted. “My goal last year at this time was just to play as many matches as I could to get a good feeling to see where my shoulder was, where I was physically, how I would cope with playing a lot of matches.
“It was definitely great to get a title in last week. I don’t think I’ve done that in my career, winning a title to begin the year. That was nice. But when you come here, everything is new and fresh – of course, it’s a nice feeling to have that victory, but you have to start from scratch.”
Her opponent, Alexandra Panova, reached the second round with a straight sets win over Romania’s Sorana Cirstea. She even managed to hit a bagel second set to close out the match in 1 hour and 7 minutes.
Although this is the first time that Sharapova and Panova will meet on the professional tour, it is not a contest that requires much analysis to offer a prediction. The five-time Grand Slam champion is far more experienced than her opponent and will likely cruise into the third round in Melbourne.
Prediction: Maria Sharapova in Straight Sets