Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The Press Association: Sharapova cruises to convincing win

World number five Maria Sharapova stepped up her preparations for the Australian Open with a resounding 6-2 6-2 victory over Caroline Wozniacki at the JB Group Classic in Hong Kong on Tuesday.

Last year's beaten Australian Open finalist was pushed on several occasions but always looked in control of her 17-year-old Danish opponent and took the opening match of the star-studded annual exhibition tournament in 81 minutes.

The 2004 Wimbledon champion, who was beaten in last year's final by Kim Clijsters, will face the winner of the final singles match between world number six Anna Chakvetadze and Indian Wells champion Daniela Hantuchova.

"I have had one of the best off-seasons that I have had in my career as it hasn't been interrupted by injury," said Sharapova, who recorded a 6-0 7-6 victory over world number six Chakvetadze in an exhibition match in Singapore on Sunday.

"I had to face several break points but the good thing was that I was able to play some good shots and get myself out of trouble which is good considering this is only my second match of the season.

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