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Superb Maria disposes off venus

Second seed Maria Sharapova sent Venus Williams crashing out of the Australian Open Friday in a crushing straight sets defeat in the third round.

The Russian, who was champion at Melbourne Park in 2008, was in rampant form, winning 6-1, 6-3 in 79 minutes on Rod Laver Arena against the vastly experienced American.

Next up for the world number two, who was beaten in the final last year by Victoria Azarenka, is Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium, who overcame Russian qualifier Valeria Savinykh.

Sharapova has been in irresistible form in Melbourne, becoming the first person to score two ‘double bagel’ 6-0, 6-0 Grand Slam wins in a row since 1985 in her opening two matches.

She failed to make it three but gave it a good crack and has now won 36 of the 40 games she has played at the opening Grand Slam of the season.

In-form world number four Agnieszka Radwanska won her 12th match in a row on Friday to power into the Australian Open fourth round at the expense of Heather Watson.

The fourth seed, who has never gone beyond the quarter-finals at Melbourne Park, was too strong for the Briton as she won 6-3, 6-1 in 84 minutes. Radawanska next faces Ana Ivanovic in the next round. The former French Open champion advanced to the fourth round of the Australian Open after beating Jelena Jankovic 7-5, 6-3 in a Friday clash featuring two Serbians who were both former top-ranked players.

World number one Novak Djokovic was forced to scrap for every point but advanced to the fourth round of the Australian Open with a 6-4, 6-3, 7-5 victory over Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic on Friday.

The 34-year-old Stepanek, ranked 34th in the world, did little wrong in an entertaining clash of inspired shotmaking and ball-chasing, but the Serb’s court craft, service return and retrieval skills were simply too good in the end.

The top seep is seeking to become the first man to win three successive Australian Open titles since the tennis went professional in 1969.
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