Ruthless Djokovic, Sharapova lift Melbourne Park
By Nick Mulvenney
MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Novak Djokovic and Maria Sharapova scorched into the third round of the Australian Open with displays of ruthless dominance on Wednesday to bring some much-needed pizzazz to the main showcourts.
Djokovic remained on course for a third successive title with a 6-1 6-2 6-3 demolition of Ryan Harrison, while Sharapova pummelled Misaki Doi 6-0 6-0 to become the first player in 28 years to hand out consecutive 'double-bagels' at a grand slam.
Returning with venom and lacerating the court with his forehands, Djokovic took just 91 minutes to whip past the American and set up a meeting with Radek Stepanek, rating it among his best performances in the early rounds of a major.
"You're trying to perform your best in every match that you play in and this was definitely a better performance than the first round," the 25-year-old said.
"I managed to play at a very high level already in the second round of a grand slam, which is very encouraging for the next challenge."
David Ferrer and Tomas Berdych had earlier signally failed to fill the charisma chasm left in the top half of the draw by the absence of the injured Rafa Nadal, but both got through the second round with some ease.
Agnieszka Radwanska extended her winning streak this year to 11 matches with a 6-3 6-3 win over Irina-Camelia Begu in the opening match on Rod Laver Arena, while Zheng Jie wrapped up the day session with a 6-4 1-6 7-5 upset of local hope Sam Stosur.
Anyone looking for real fireworks, though, needed to be out on court eight, where Radwanska's fellow Pole Jerzy Janowicz exploded in a sensational tantrum before battling back brilliantly to beat Somdev Devvarman 6-7 3-6 6-1 6-0 7-5. Continued...