Sharapova serves more bagels as Stosur chokes
MELBOURNE- Agence France-Presse
EPA PhotoMaria Sharapova served up her second double bagel of the Australian Open Wednesday, piling pressure on hobbling favourite Serena Williams, as Samantha Stosur again suffered in front of her home fans.
David Ferrer and Tomas Berdych pressed their claims for the men's title as they reached the third round, along with 2006 finalist Marcos Baghdatis and Japanese hope Kei Nishikori.
With world number one Novak Djokovic due on Rod Laver Arena later for the showpiece evening match, against America's Ryan Harrison, all eyes were on the women -- and they didn't disappoint.
Sharapova, the world number two, had been flawless in her 6-0, 6-0 opener against Olga Puchkova, and she remarkably repeated the scoreline -- a feat not achieved at a Grand Slam since 1985 -- against Japan's Misaki Doi.
"It's not really the statistic I want to be known for. I want to be known for winning Grand Slam titles, not that I won two matches 6-0, 6-0," Sharapova said.
"You know, I'm just happy that I won the match and I get to go through and I'm in the next round." The Russian had not played this year before arriving in Melbourne, but her impeccable 24-0 games record takes on added significance after Williams rolled her ankle and limped through her own 6-0, 6-0 first-round win.
Fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska smoothly put away Irina-Camelia Begu to reach the third round, where she was joined by German fifth seed Angelique Kerber and China's sixth seed Li Na.
"Australia for me -- I really believe I can win this Grand Slam," said former finalist Li, after her 6-2, 7-5 victory over Olga Govortsova.
But there was misery for Australian favourite Stosur, the ninth seed and 2011 US Open champion, who threw away five games in a row to crash out against China's Zheng Jie.
Stosur, who suffered first-round flops at WTA events in Brisbane and Sydney this year, was leading 5-2 in the third set but she choked in front of her home fans and ultimately double-faulted to hand Zheng victory 6-4, 1-6, 7-5.
In the men's draw, Spanish fourth seed Ferrer was extended by 125th-ranked American Tim Smyczek before winning 6-0, 7-5, 4-6, 6-3, while Berdych, the fifth seed, enjoyed a straight-sets win over Frenchman Guillaume Rufin.
Elsewhere on day three, Japan's Nishikori powered on with a straight-sets victory over Argentina's Carlos Berlocq, and Spanish 10th seed Nicolas Almagro went through in three sets.
Towering Pole Jerzy Janowicz succumbed to the tournament's first wild meltdown, after he fell to his hands and knees and repeatedly screamed, "How many times?" over a line call during his win over India's Somdev Devvarman.
"I was already happy, I was already shouting 'come on.' But the referees didn't say anything. This was the moment when I went nuts," he said later.
"Sometimes it happens like this. Sometimes I have a problem to control my emotions, but I'm trying to work on this." Footage of the incident, which follows Baghdatis's tantrum when he smashed four racquets in quick succession last year, quickly circulated on the Internet.
Meanwhile there was agony for the luckless Brian Baker, who has battled back from six years on the sidelines following a series of operations, when he collapsed with a serious knee injury while playing fellow American Sam Querrey.