Serena imposes authority with heavy rout, Sharapova pulls out
BRISBANE, Australia - Agence France-Presse
After an illustrious 2012 campaign, Serena Williams opens up her 2013 season in style with a comfortable two-set win over France’s Alize Cornet. AP photoSerena Williams stamped her authority on the Brisbane International yesterday when she crushed Frenchwoman Alize Cornet 6-2, 6-2.
On a day that saw second seed Maria Sharapova withdraw with an injured collarbone and fifth and sixth seeds Sara Errani and Petra Kvitova bundled out, Williams was all business as she disposed of Cornet in exactly one hour.
The 15-time Grand Slam winner broke Cornet in the first game and was never troubled after that, as she broke the Frenchwoman once more in the first set and twice in the second for a comprehensive victory.
Williams had far too much firepower for Cornet, hitting 25 winners to four including six aces. One in the second set was clocked at 200 kmh (125 mph).
The third-seed stepped up a gear from her opening-round win over fellow countrywoman Varvara Lepchenko.
“She’s (Cornet) a former top 15 player and we’ve had a tough three-set match before, so I knew I had to play really well,” she said. “I tried to be more aggressive and tried to be more consistent.”
Sharapova was earlier forced to withdraw with a right collarbone injury. The Russian sent scans of her injury to her doctor in New York, who advised her not to do any overhead training for at least a week.
“So to be fair I haven’t really given myself a chance to pretty much hit any serves or anything over my head, I’ve just been practising ground strokes. So I just kind of ran out of time here,” she said.
It is the second year in a row that Sharapova has withdrawn from the tournament without playing a shot.
Last year, she skipped Brisbane because of an ankle injury and went straight to Melbourne to prepare for the Australian Open, where she finished runner-up to Victoria Azarenka.
Former Wimbledon winner Kvitova, who won in Brisbane in 2011, went down 6-4, 7-5 to Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, while Italy’s Errani lost in three sets to 2012 runner-up Daniela Hantuchova 4-6, 6-1, 7-5.
“It wasn’t my best tennis today and I think that it’s the beginning of the season, so I hoped that it could be better, for sure,” Kvitova said.
“Right now I have still some space where I can improve and I hope that in Melbourne I will improve these things.”