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Clinical Djokovic serves up a warning

MELBOURNE: Jan 16, 2013,Reuters: 22:58 IST

Serbian thumps Harrison; Sharapova blanks Misaki

Novak Djokovic and Maria Sharapova scorched into the third round of the Australian Open with displays of ruthless dominance on Wednesday to bring some much-needed pizzazz to the main showcourts.

Djokovic remained on course for a third successive title with a 6-1, 6-2, 6-3 demolition of Ryan Harrison, while Sharapova pummelled Misaki Doi 6-0, 6-0 to become the first player in 28 years to hand out consecutive ‘double-bagels’ at a Grand Slam.

Returning with venom and lacerating the court with his forehands, Djokovic took just 91 minutes to whip past the American and set up a meeting with Radek Stepanek, rating it among his best performances in the early rounds of a major. David Ferrer and Tomas Berdych had earlier signally failed to fill the charisma chasm left in the top half of the draw by the absence of the injured Rafael Nadal, but both got through the second round with some ease.

Agnieszka Radwanska extended her winning streak this year to 11 matches with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Irina-Camelia Begu in the opening match on Rod Laver Arena, while Zheng Jie wrapped up the day session with a 6-4, 1-6, 7-5 upset of local hope Samantha Stosur.

Women’s second seed and 2008 champion Sharapova was in absolutely no mood for sympathy as she dismissed Japan’s Doi in just 47 minutes on Hisense Arena.

The Russian is unlikely to make it through the third round without dropping a game, though, after Venus Williams beat Alize Cornet 6-3, 6-3 in the match to decide her next opponent. Djokovic is likely to meet Berdych in the quarterfinals, while Ferrer is seeded to play the Serbian world number one in the semifinals.
Fifth seeded Czech Berdych wrapped up a 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 hammering of Frenchman Guillaume Rufin with his eighth ace after exactly two hours on Rod Laver Arena.

Ferrer, seeded fourth in the absence of Nadal, was playing out on Margaret Court Arena and required 38 minutes longer to despatch American lucky loser Tim Smyczek 6-0, 7-5, 4-6, 6-3.

There was Asian success on Hisense Arena when China’s Li Na battled back from 4-2 down in the second set to secure a 6-2, 7-5 win over Olga Govortsova, but for once she was outshone by compatriot Zheng.

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