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By Karen Walker
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Former World Number One and 2008 champion Maria Sharapova takes on Frenchwoman Virginie Razzano for a place in the third round of the 2011 Australian Open, the Grand Slam of Asia Pacific being played here in Melbourne, Australia.
Sharapova made an impactful start against Thai star Tamarine Tanasugarn and won the match in straight sets on Monday. Her serve was the key factor in her sound victory over Tanasugarn who is known of testing her nervy opponents in critical moments of the match. Sharapova has come a long way since her return from the injury hiatus that kept her away from tennis for almost a year. After winning titles in Memphis and Strasbourg, she reached the final in Cincinnati where she lost the title match to Kim Clijsters. Sharapova most definitely is a strong player and if she manages to reach the quarterfinals, she can pose a threat to anyone in the draw.
Clich here to know more about Sharapova's possible opponents in the next round.
Sharapova's opponent, Frenchwoman Virginie Razzano is ranked 100 in the world but has a calibre of getting the better of some of her finest contemporaries. Razzano has two WTA singles titles and was ranked a career high No.16 in September 2009. Razzano beat another Russian Elena Vesnina in the first round of the event here in Melbourne.
Both players have never met before in their respective careers and chances are that Sharapova will be taken the distance by French star by the virtue of her current form and court coverage. Despite the struggle, Sharapova is likelier to emerge victorious in straight sets.
TennisEarth.com's Pick - Sharapova in two closely contested sets.
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