Sharp Sharapova returns to form to reach fourth round

Fri Jan 23, 2015 4:39am EST
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MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Maria Sharapova proved her second-round scare against Alexandra Panova was no more than a blip as she destroyed Zarina Diyas 6-1 6-1 to charge into the Australian Open fourth round on Friday.

The statuesque second seed was forced to save match-points against fellow Russian Panova but roared back into form against the hapless Kazakh, who was completely outgunned in the baseline duels.

Sharapova blasted 22 winners against the 31st seed and sealed the match with an ace in a tick over an hour.

The five-time grand slam champion will next play China's Peng Shuai for a place in the quarter-finals.

(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

Maria Sharapova of Russia hits a return against Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan during their women's singles third round match at the Australian Open 2015 tennis tournament in Melbourne January 23, 2015. REUTERS/Carlos Barria