Sharapova into Australian Open quarters after losing just five games
Russian ace has lost just five games in four matches, a new Australian Open record
Agence France-Presse in Melbourne
Maria Sharapova enjoyed the smoothest passage to the Australian Open quarter-finals in history yesterday as Agnieszka Radwanska and Li Na also stormed through.
The irresistible world No 2 clocked up her fifth 6-0 set score of the first week as she blitzed Kirsten Flipkens 6-1, 6-0. She has lost just five games en route, smashing the tournament record.
Sharapova, who clinched the title in 2008, won her first two matches 6-0, 6-0 - a "double bagel" not achieved at a grand slam since 1985 - and then floored Venus Williams 6-1, 6-3 in the third round.
She beat the tournament record of eight games lost en route to the last eight, held by Monica Seles and Steffi Graf, and came close to Mary Pierce's all-time grand slam mark of four in reaching the 1994 French Open quarters.
But the four-time grand slam winner said her thoughts never strayed beyond her next opponent, in this case fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova, her victim in the quarter-finals on the way to last year's final.
"It's not about waiting to see where you are in the semis or finals, it's about who's ahead of you," said Sharapova, a veteran of 38 grand slam campaigns. "And my next match is against Makarova. I have to do the right things to beat her. If I win that, it's moving on to the next one. That's how I go about a tournament, a grand slam."
Poland's world No 4 Radwanska dominated former world No 1 Ana Ivanovic as she chalked up her 13th win of the nascent season. "I'm very happy I could play my best tennis today," said Radwanska, who reached her first grand slam final at Wimbledon last year.
The Pole will next meet Chinese No 1 Li, who was also impressive in her 7-6 (8-6), 6-1 victory over Germany's Julia Goerges as she reached her third Melbourne quarter-final.
"If I had lost the first set it could have been another story," admitted Li. "I just kept going point by point, not thinking too much."