Ruth­less Shara­pova crushes op­po­nent

Fraser Coast Chronicle - - SPORT - – El­iza Sewell

TEN­NIS: She may not win the Aus­tralian Open, but the reign of the Ice Queen will con­tinue at Mel­bourne Park.

Maria Shara­pova made her 22-year-old op­po­nent cry, such was the ease and power of her vic­tory on Rod Laver Arena yes­ter­day.

But what is the 31-year-old, who’s play­ing in her 15th Aus­tralia Open, to do about that?

Show some em­pa­thy? Some sym­pa­thy?

“There is no time for that, I’m sorry to say,” Shara­pova said fol­low­ing her vic­tory.

“So I’m not so much wor­ried about my op­po­nent, but I have to step up when the time is right and when I need to, so that’s my main goal.”

Young brit Har­riet Dart, play­ing for the first time in the main draw of a grand slam, was so dis­traught after her 6-0, 6-0 drub­bing she broke down in tears.

An hour later she was still vis­i­bly up­set as she fronted the me­dia.

“She doesn’t really give you any­thing,” Dart said.

“… She is who she is and the way she played shows that.”

Shara­pova, the 2008 Aus­tralian Open cham­pion, said she had planned to be un­com­pro­mis­ing.

“I think I was just fo­cused on not hav­ing a let-down,” she said.

“I think it’s very easy to be in a po­si­tion where things are flow­ing, you know, you’re do­ing all the right things, she’s mak­ing a few er­rors, you’re com­fort­able, easy to get com­pla­cent, and, you know, com­pla­cency is not great.”

Shara­pova said she was con­tin­u­ing to bat­tle a right shoul­der prob­lem as well a leg in­jury, but was thrilled to play, and win, her first match of the year.

Photo: DAVID CROSLING

NO LET-UP: Maria Shara­pova.

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