Less is more for ruthless Sharapova

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MELBOURNE — Practice makes perfect, in theory, but not for Maria Sharapova.

Report by Reuters

The second-seeded Russian walloped Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium 6-1, 6-0 yesterday to reach the quarter-finals of the Australian Open in record time.

Sharapova, the champion in Melbourne in 2008, has dropped just five games in her opening four matches, an Australian Open best.

Only France’s Mary Pierce, who dropped just four games on her way to the French Open quarter-finals in 1994, has been more ruthless.

Sharapova has spent just 249 minutes on court in four matches.

World No 2 Sharapova arrived in Melbourne without any match practice after pulling out of two warm-up events because of a sore neck.

Right from the off, the Russian has shown no sign of rustiness.

In the quarter-finals, Sharapova will play another Russian, Ekaterina Makarova, for the second successive year and said she was aware that maintaining her barn-storming run was not going to be simple.

“It’s always much easier said than done to keep that focus, especially when you have a (good) first set,” she said.
“Maybe in the end of the second your opponent can start going for it a little bit more.

“All of a sudden, especially in women’s tennis, things can change really quickly. It’s really about sticking to your game plan, being consistent, but playing your game.

“My next match is against Makarova. I have to do the right things to beat her.

“If I win that, it’s moving on to the next one. That’s how I go about a tournament, a grand slam. Obviously I want to be playing my best tennis towards the end of the second week.”