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Maria, Venus Cruise; Stosur Relieved in Melbourne

Opening day action at the Australian Open saw Maria Sharapova and Venus Williams race to victory. Sam Stosur survived a ragged start to earn her first win at home in over a year.

By Erik Gudris

Maria Sharpova (January 14th, 2013) -- Both Maria Sharapova and Venus Williams barely broke a sweat in their first round matches at the Australian Open as they head for a possible third round showdown against each other.

Sharapova opened proceedings on Rod Laver Arena she took on fellow Russian Olga Puchkova. Though Sharapova faced a break point in her initial service game, that was the only trouble she encountered as she proceeded to dominate the match and notch a quick 6-0, 6-0 win.

Sharapova has now earned a perfect win or a "double bagel" in every Major except Wimbledon. But when asked about it, Sharapova didn't take too much stock in it.

"You know, when you're out there and playing, you're just focusing on every point and every game and trying to win as many as you can, and today was just a good scoreline."

At the same time on Hisense Arena, Venus Williams was expected to have tougher match against Galina Voskoboeva. But Williams put on a classic display of power tennis that included ripping forehand winners and finishing off points up at net. Williams closed out a 6-0, 6-1 win in just an hour.

Agnieszka Radwanska fought off determined Aussie wildcard Bojana Bobusic who served for the set but couldn't close it out as Radwanska went on to win 7-5, 6-0.

Other winners in the day session included Li Na, Angelique Kerber, Marion Bartoli, Jelena Jankovic and young American wildcard Madison Keys who beat Australia's Casey Dellacqua 6-4, 7-6(0). No. 32 seed Mona Barthel was the first seeded player to fall as she lost to Ksenia Pervak 5-7, 6-2, 4-6.

Stosur Struggles But Earns First Round Win at Home

No. 9 seed Sam Stosur aimed for the win in her home country in over a year as she faced Taiwan's Kai-Chen Chang on a packed Rod Laver Arena. Both women struggled to hold their serve throughout the first set. Stosur found her range in time to take the first set tiebreak and that seemed to loosen her shoulders as she secured an early break in the second set.

Chang's total eight double faults did her no favors as played catch up with Stosur. The Australian secured a final break of serve to close out a 7-6(3), 6-3 win.

"No matter how good or bad you play, a win always makes you feel better," Stosur said afterwards. "I definitely feel like I improved throughout the last couple of weeks coming into this match.  Obviously it's hard to necessarily, you know, prove that when you're not winning those matches. But I did feel better, and I think that showed today."

In the night match, Ana Ivanovic beat Melinda Czink in easy fashion 6-2, 6-1.

(Photo Credit: Mark Peterson/Corleve)


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