Maria Sharapova kicks into form at US Open

Maria Sharapova put behind her the problems of the first round as she cruised into round three of the US Open with a 6-1 6-1 victory over Anastasiya Yakimova on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

The third seed had needed more than two and a half hours to see off Britain's Heather Watson on Monday, dropping the first set and looking in real danger of defeat.



The very first game tonight saw Sharapova having to battle back from 0-40 against Belarusian Yakimova but, having done that, the 24-year-old did not look back.



At 5ft 5in, Yakimova is nine inches shorter than Sharapova and simply did not have the weapons to hurt her opponent, managing only two winners to the third seed's 28.



Having had game points in the first three games without winning any of them, world number 84 Yakimova finally got on the board in game four, but Sharapova was ultra-solid, particularly on her forehand, and she wrapped up victory in 70 minutes.



The 2006 champion is likely to face a tougher time in the third round against 26th seed Flavia Pennetta of Italy, a two-time quarter-finalist at Flushing Meadows.

Sharapova was happy with the way she upped her level from the Watson match.

She said: "I played a pretty tricky opponent tonight who didn't play the typical kind of tennis. She sliced a lot, a lot of high balls. Maybe the first couple of games I was a little bit impatient.



"Then I got really steady. I was aggressive. I still felt like I could have moved in a little bit more, but overall I played solid and much better than the first one."



The Russian, meanwhile, offered her support to Venus Williams following her announcement that she is suffering from the auto-immune disease Sjogren's Syndrome.



Sharapova added: "I don't think either one of us really knows how serious it is. Hopefully it is not. I hope that it's not obviously the end of her career.



"I still feel like, although she's a bit older, she's still one of the fittest players on tour and one of the most dangerous when she's playing well. It's obviously tough in sport. I always mention how important health is."





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