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Rediff.com  » Sports » Sharp Sharapova returns to form to reach fourth round

Sharp Sharapova returns to form to reach fourth round

Last updated on: January 23, 2015 16:41 IST

Maria Sharapova proved her second round scare against Alexandra Panova was no more than a blip as she destroyed Zarina Diyas 6-1, 6-1 to charge into the Australian Open fourth round on Friday.

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The statuesque second seed was forced to save match points against fellow Russian Panova on Wednesday but roared back into form against the hapless Kazakh, who was completely out-gunned in the baseline duels.

"I think I rebounded really well. I had a good hit yesterday," the five-times Grand Slam champion told reporters.

"Just kind of thought a little bit about what I wanted to try to achieve tonight no matter who I played.

"Of course, I focused a little bit on myself more than anything else.

"Just tried to be a bit more aggressive, concentrate. I thought I did a good job of focusing well."

Sharapova blasted 22 winners against the 31st seed and sealed the match with an ace in a tick over an hour.

The Russian will next play Peng Shuai for a place in the quarter-finals, with the 21st-seeded Chinese taking on the mantle of retired champion Li Na with a second trip to the last 16 in Melbourne.

"I think she's always a tough player to play against because she's really solid," Sharapova said.

"She's quite powerful. I know she's gone through a few injuries in her career. Having that start-stop type of career is never easy, because sometimes you don't feel like you can actually get a routine and a groove.

"I think she's someone that actually gets better by playing matches, when she gets a good feeling of her strokes, because so much depends on her groundstrokes and the fluidity of how she hits."

Image: Maria Sharapova in action.

Photograph: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

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