From Russia with love...

Venus Williams was unable to stop the Maria Sharapova juggernaut this morning as the Russian powered into the fourth round of the Australian Open.

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Maria Sharapova salutes the crowd as Venus Williams troops off court
Maria Sharapova salutes the crowd as Venus Williams troops off court

Sharapova, who won her first two matches in Melbourne without dropping a game, was irresistible as she crushed the seven-time major winner 6-1, 6-3 in just 79 minutes on Rod Laver Arena.

Sharapova said: "I really wanted this victory. I was 5-1 up (in the second set) and made a couple more errors than I would have liked so I was very pleased to have served it out."

The 25-year-old admitted the match was one she had been eagerly anticipating.

"When we both looked at the draw this was the match-up that we were both looking forward to," said Sharapova.

"I was really excited to play Venus again. She is a great athlete and no matter where she is ranked she's always a very tough player to play."

As Sharapova went marching on, it was the end of the line for Britain's Heather Watson who bowed out to fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska.

Despite a spirited start, the 20-year-old went down 6-3, 6-1 in 84 minutes on Hisense Arena.

"I thought I had a good start to the match," said Watson. "I had chances early on to break but I wasn't able to convert, and I think after one game that I didn't convert it kind of just slipped away a little bit."

British hopes in the women's singles now rest with Laura Robson who will play Sloane Stephens in the third round.


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