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Sharapova avoids shock early exit

January 21, 2015 09:12:07 UK

Maria Sharapova admitted she was relieved to come through a tough second-round clash at the Australian Open against Alexandra Panova.

The world number 150 appeared to be on course for a massive shock when she won the second set against the second seed, only for the Russian to hit back to win the encounter 6-1 4-6 7-5.

Panova had two points to take a 5-1 lead in the decisive final set but the occasion then appeared to get to the 25-year-old as Sharapova won six of the last seven games.

Of course, based on experience, you lift yourself up both mentally and physically.

Maria Sharapova

“I was down two breaks in the third. The only belief I had was just try to get into the rallies,” said Sharapova. “She served some really good games out there where I didn’t have many chances.

“When I did, I thought I could put a little more thought into her mind, get those first serves back. I think that was really important.

“I think she became a little bit more tentative in that last game. Of course, based on experience, you lift yourself up both mentally and physically.”

The world number two will play either 31st seed Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan or Slovakia’s Anna Schmiedlova in the third round.

Sharapova is 5.00 to win the Australian Open outright, while Serena Williams can be backed at 3.25 and Victoria Azarenka at 15.00.

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